In 2003 the chinese Reindeer-Evenki were relocated to a purpose-built settlement, justified on the grounds of environmental conservation and development. although some had favoured the move, others interpreted this as an attack on their lifeworld, with a number of herder-hunters choosing to remain in the forest where they reside in five campsites. This paper traces the development of the relocation from the perspective of three competing levels of experience: that of the national state, the regional government, and the Reindeer-Evenki themselves. although the community represents the only reindeer-herding people in china, their experiences reveal insights into the nature of minority-state relations characteristic of Northern and Inner asia, including the contradictions associated with relocation. at the same time, as little research has been carried out amongst china's Evenki minority, I update the situation by providing material from a lesser-known ethnographic region.