herdsmen of Inner Mongolia have freely
roamed the plains for many centuries with
their livestock grazing on fertile
grasslands stretching across the horizon.
But now their age-old customs are being
stamped out because of the relocation the
Chinese Government claims will help curve
environmental damage. In 1949, the ratio of
Mongols to Han Chinese in this northern
province of China was reported to be 5:1.
Now, there is only 1 Mongol in every 6 Han
Chinese. Along with mass migrations came
assimilation as the Mongolians were required
to give up their nomadic life-styles and to
move to permanent settlements.
Badamsuren (traditional herdsman): It was
better before when we were free to roam the
grasslands. Now, we have ventured other
peoples’ grassland, and our sheep would be
confiscated. Things are controlled now.
Chinese are cultivating crops and raising
animals here, competing with the Mongolian
herdsmen. Modern technology has also
impacted the grasslands in a profound way.
While some do ride motorcycles rather than
horses, and others have more modern
conveniences, other reports claim that it is
the Han Chinese agricultural practices that
are causing the most damage. The Chinggis
Khan Mouseleum in Ordos City serves as a
cultural reminder for the Mongolian proud
heritage before the Chinese Government
exercised this control. The Mongolians have
long and unique history and multi-fašade
Sarangerel (Central University of
Nationalism): During Chinggis Khan era, he
used people’s different religious faiths. He
didn’t discriminate different races and
religious beliefs. I think they have the
ability to assimilate and adapt well to the
different environments. Mongolian cultures
are very open and embracing.
Climate change and over-grazing have
rendered huge swaths of land barren, and
caused frequent sandstorm in Inner Mongolia
and its neighboring provinces.
Chagaan-boor (former herdsman): I think it
will take bearly 7 to 8 years before all
this will be gone. We will be like everyone
else, and this will be like every other
city. Our culture and tradition will
of disquiet are creeping into the
grasslands. But the herdsmen know that they
can not stop change, nor can they run from
it. These days, in the wide and unending
grassland of Inner Mongolia, there is just
no place left to go.
Transcription by SMHRIC