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Not to be confused with the Oroch of Khabarovsk Krai and Oroqen of China
Alternative names:
Orok, Ul'ta, Ulcha, Uil'ta, Nani
Total population
346 (est.)
Regions with significant populations
Russia: Sakhalin Oblast,Japan

Orok language, Russian,Japanese


Shamanism, Russian Orthodoxy

Related ethnic groups

Ainu, Nivkhs, Itelmen, Evens , Koryaks, Evenks, Ulchs, Nanai, Oroch, Udege

Oroks (Ороки in Russian; self designation: ульта, ulta, ulcha) are a people in the Sakhalin Oblast (mainly, eastern part of the island) in Russia. The Orok language belongs to the southern group of the Tungusic language family and have no written language. According to the 2002 census, there were 346 Oroks living in Northern Sakhalin by the Okhotsk Sea and Southern Sakhalin in the district by the city of Poronaysk.



The name Orok is believed to derive from the exonym Oro given by a Tungusic group meaning "a domestic reindeer." The Orok self-designation endonym is Ul'ta probably a root of Ula (a domestic reindeer in Orok language), another self-designation is nani. [1] Occasionally, the Oroks, as well as the Orochs and Udeges, are erroneously called Orochons.


The Russian Empire gained complete control over Orok lands after the 1858 Aikhun Treaty and 1860 Peking Treaty. [2] A penal colony was established on Sakhalin between 1857 and 1906 bringing large numbers of Russian criminals and political exiles, including Lev Sternberg, an important early ethnographer on Oroks and the other island's indigenous people the Nivkhs and Ainu.[3] Russia underwent the Bolshevik Revolution forming the Soviet Union in 1922. The new government altered prior Russian Imperial polices towards the Oroks that were in line with communist ideology. [4] Before Soviet collectivization in the 1920s the Orok were divided into five groups, each with their own migratory zone. [5]


  1. ^ Kolga, pp.281-284
  2. ^ Kolga, pp.270
  3. ^ Shternberg and Grant, p.xi
  4. ^ Shternberg and Grant, pp.184-194
  5. ^ "Indigenous Peoples of the Russian North, Siberia and Far East" by Arctic Network for the Support of the Indigenous Peoples of the Russian Arctic


  • Kolga, Margus. (2001). The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire. NGO Red Book. Tallinn, Estonia 399p. ISBN 9985936922
  • Missonova, Lyudmila I. (2009). The Main Spheres of Activities of Sakhalin Uilta: Survival Experience in the Present-Day Context. Sibirica: Interdisciplinary Journal of Siberian Studies, 8:2, 71–87. Abstract available here (retrieved November 9, 2009).
  • Shternberg, Lev Iakovlevich, and Bruce Grant. (1999). The Social Organization of the Gilyak. New York: American Museum of Natural History. Seattle: University of Washington Press 280p. ISBN 029597799X
  • Ороки. -- Народы Сибири, Москва -- Ленинград 1956.
  • Т. Петрова, Язык ороков (ульта), Москва 1967.
  • А. В. Смоляк, Южные ороки. -- Советская этнография 1, 1965.
  • А. В. Смоляк, Этнические процессы у народов Нижнего Амура и Сахалина, Москва 1975.

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