The Itelmen language


The autoethnonym (self-name) is itenmen. Until the 1920s and in foreign publications to this day, the ethnonym kamchadals has been used.The ethnonym Itelmen goes back to the self-name itenmen (singular), itenme’n (plural), coming from the verb root itkes “to be, to exist,” and means “living”.

Itelmen Village
General Characteristics

This self-name was first recorded by the Russian explorers Georg Steller and Stepan Krasheninnikov, the participants in the second Kamchatka expedition of 1733-1743. The Itelmens are an indigenous population of Kamchatka. It is generally accepted that the Itelmens are the descendants of the Tarya culture of the Neolithic Kamchatka. This culture had developed from the 5th millennium BC until the middle of the 17th century, practically independently of the other cultures of Northeast Asia, therefore retaining its characteristic features.

Interactive atlas of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East