Kereks, whose endonym is Ankalakku (those living by the sea), belong to the Paleo-Siberian ethnic group – they are descendants of prehistoric dwellers of the Arctic, successors of the groups belonging to the Lakhtin culture who had lived along the ocean coast of Chukotka and Kamchatka since time immemorial. Judging on the archaeological data, numerous ancient Kerek settlements were scattered along the coast of the Bering Sea from the Anadyr estuary to the estuary of the River Opuka.

General information
As shown by the history of the exploration of the area, “Kereks’ land” was outside the principal routes of the first Russian explorations, the trade routes and the treks of research expeditions, remaining unexplored and unresearched. Therefore, the first written records have autochthonous Kereks enter the history as a subgroup of larger ethnic groups – Chukhmari (the Kamchadal term for the Chukchi) or Koryak people (Koryaks) – newly-arrived communities in that area. Only in the late 19th century, on the initiative of the well-educated governor of the Anadyr Province N.L.Gondatti, did they start singling out Kereks as a separate group, adopting the Chukchi term for them, Kerekit. Since then, Kereks adopted a similarly sounding endonym of Karakykku. In his work, N.L.Gondatti points out Kereks’ distinct identity: “The language of these people is not intelligible either to the Chukchi or to Lamuts or even to Koryaks. The Chukchi set the Kerekit apart from the Koryaks accepting them as an absolutely separate people”
Lifestyles and the supporting system

The traditional Kerek way of life was characterised by lack of one prevailing specialisation in economic activities. An equally essential part of their economic life was taken by hunting birds and small rodents, fishing in spawning rivers and lakes, gathering on the seashore and the tundra. In the past, hunting marine mammals might have taken priority, but as time went on, it was on a par with other trades in the supporting system of the Kerek community. It is worth noticing that, while reindeer herding became more popular, this type of economic activity did not take off with Kereks.

Spiritual cultureа

The traditional spiritual culture of Kereks was full of archaic beliefs – the cult of ancestors, the spiritualisation of natural phenomena and totem animals; rituals of remembrance in prayers and of gratitude. Some remains of Kereks’ cult sacrificial sites have come down to us – semicircles of walrus skulls with a whale jaw driven vertically into the ground. These sites were visited not only by Kereks, but also by the Chukchi and Koryaks in the past and served as the meeting ground for solving interethnic issues: for conducting seasonal rituals, for distributing hunting grounds and for making various agreements etc.

Additional materials
Other materials describing everyday life, culture and the history of the people
Interactive atlas of indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East