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Itelmeni 3.JPG
An Itelmen dance group, 2013
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Itelmen, Russian
Polytheism, Shamanism, Russian Orthodoxy
Related ethnic groups
Chukchi, Koryaks

The Itelmens (Itelmen: Итәнмән, Russian: Ительмены) are a native population of the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia. Itelmen call themselves itenme'n-itelmen, which means "an inhabitant of dry land", or "a human being."[1] They are also called Kamchadal. They are related to the Chukchi and Koryak peoples.[2]

Language[change | change source]

Itelmen spoke the Itelmen language. It is a Chukotsko-Kamchatsky language.[3] As of 2016, there are only about 5 native speakers of the language alive, and it is an endangered language.[4] Most Itelmen now speak Russian. There have been efforts to bring the language back since the 1980s.[4]

Pre-contact life[change | change source]

Kamchadal is the general term for the native peoples of Kamchatka Krai. This includes the Itelmen. Itelmen were called Kamchadals by Russian settlers until 1927.[5] They were fishermen and fur hunters. They were also herbalists, which means they used plants like herbs as medicine.[1]

Russian contact[change | change source]

Itelmens were being converted to Christians as early as the 1730s.[6]

The population of the native peoples of Kamchatka declined from 1769-1770. There were hundreds of Itelmen settlements in the 18th century, but there were only seven Itelmen-speaking villages by the 20th century.[6] Russian became the main language, and Russians spread diseases to the Itelmen, like smallpox. They also suffered from famine.[7]

Kamchadal people suffered from Russian rule. Cossacks kept Itelmen as slaves.[8] Some Itelmen who fought against the Russians were deported, or had their tribes separated.[1]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire: Itelmens". Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  2. "Itelmen". Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  3. "Itelmen". Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Degai, Tatiana S. (2016). ""ITƏNMƏN"-- "The One Who Exists": Sociolinguistic Life of the Itelmen in Kamchatka, Russia in the Context of Language Loss and Language Revitalization". Retrieved 2022-03-01.
  5. Murashko, Olga (1997). "Itelmens and Kamchadals: Marriage Patterns and Ethnic History". Arctic Anthropology. 34 (1): 181–193. ISSN 0066-6939. JSTOR 40316432.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Koester, David (2005). "Global Movements and Local Historical Events: Itelmens of Kamchatka Appeal to the United Nations". American Ethnologist. 32 (4): 642–659. doi:10.1525/ae.2005.32.4.642. ISSN 0094-0496. JSTOR 3805353.
  7. Murashko, Olga; Krupnik, Igor I.; Davis, Eugenia W. (1994). "A Demographic History of the Kamchadal/Itelmen of Kamchatka Peninsula: Modeling the Precontact Numbers and Postcontact Depopulation". Arctic Anthropology. 31 (2): 16–30. ISSN 0066-6939. JSTOR 40316361.
  8. Steller, Georg Wilhelm; Falk, Marvin W (2003). Steller's history of Kamchatka: collected information concerning the history of Kamchatka, its peoples, their manners, names, lifestyle, and various customary practices. ISBN 978-1-889963-49-5. OCLC 49844675.

Other websites[change | change source]