Itelmens

Itelmens

About Itelmens

The Itelmen, sometimes known as Kamchadal, are an ethnic group who are the original inhabitants living on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia. The Itelmen language is distantly related to Chukchi and Koryak, forming the Chukotko-Kamchatkan language family, but it is now virtually extinct, the vast majority of ethnic Itelmens being native speakers of Russian. A. P. Volodin has published a grammar of the Itelmen language. The Itelmen had a substantial hunter-gatherer and fishing society with up to fifty thousand natives inhabiting the peninsula before they were decimated by the Cossack conquest in the 18th century. So much intermarriage took place between the natives and the Cossacks that Kamchadal now refers to the majority mixed population, and the term Itelmens at some point became reserved for persisting speakers of the Itelmen language.

Contributions by RScheiber, Hottentot, and Critpierce.