The Histories and Politics of Identity Governance in Eurasia

River Stars Reindeer: Imaging Evenki & Orochen communities of Inner Mongolia & Siberia (Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2015)

One hundred years ago the Russian ethnographer, Sergei Shirokogoroff and his wife Elizabeth, were invited to the snowforests of the Amur River to study the indigenous Evenki and Orochen peoples.  In 1929 Cambridge anthropologist and explorer, Ethel John Lindgren, and her soon to be husband Oscar Mamen, went in search of these ‘ little-known tribes’ which were considered to be ‘fast dying out’.  Together they amassed a considerable collection of 26,000 culturally and historically important photographs, the majority of which have never been seen, until now.

In collaboration with Evenki and Orochen communities and scholars in Russia and China, the Museum of Anthropology & Archaeology (Unibersity of Cambridge), and the MAE (Kunstkamera), St Petersburg, as caretakers of Shirokogoroff and Lindgren’s photographic collections, are working to share these photographs with the people of Inner Mongolia and Siberia.  From the excitement of recognising faces, to the beauty of the reindeer, or the heated debates about what is happening in the photographs, this evocative exhibition is about the reconnection of these communities with their images, their histories, and their stories.

This digital collection is based on the exhibition held at The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge, United Kingdom, from 23 June – 27 September 2015.