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Itelmen in Russia


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Itelmen in Russia map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
3,200 Russian Ethnic Religions 5.00 % 0.94 %   

Itelmen in Russia

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Introduction / History
Itelmen are one of the smallest people groups in the north as well as being one of the most ancient. "Itelmen" means "an inhabitant of dry land, a human being." The name was used for the first time by Russian researchers Kamchatka Steller G. and Krasheninikov around the late 1730s. They also are known as Kamchadals, because they live in Kamchatka. The origin of the Itelmens is unknown, but what we do know is that they are native inhabitants of Kamchatka. Some people say that they moved there thousands of years ago from mainland Asia. In 1697, the Itelmens population was 12,680 people but it dropped to below 9,000 people in 1738 because of contagious sicknesses (pox, etc.).

The Itelmen language is unlike anything else; it belongs to the Chukchi-Kamchatka group of Paloe-Asiatic languages. Native speakers are diminishing; for example, in 1979 about 350 people were recorded as speaking Itelmen, which is the same number as in 1959. During the Soviet period, the Itelmens received their written language. A unified alphabet was created for the Nordic peoples in 1930 which consisted of 28 characters based on the Latin alphabet. An Itelmen alphabet was created in Khabarovsk consisting 27 characters.

Where are they located?
The Itelmen do not have their own district because of their small population; however, they live mostly in between Sedanka and Sopochnoye on the western coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula. The climate is monsoon, with the average temperature in January being -11°C and in July +12°C. In the 1950s, they were gathered into larger villages because collective farms were increasing.

What are their lives like?
The Itelmen are typically river fishers and fur hunters, with everything else, such as hunting, secondary. They would store different wild grasses and roots for food and medicine. Along with storing things, they would make nets, weaving mats and several other things for housekeeping. They also began following the example of the Russians and started using iron tools, fishing nets, new utensils, and clothes. The Itelmen would settle on a river near their relatives with common fishing territories. All one family would live in a half-dugout. Most of the names of their forts would come from the rivers' names where they were built. Their leader was called the fort elder. All the decisions about life around the fort, all the activities, and their celebrations were all discussed in the fort elders' home. Slowly they started to accept the presence of Russians in their cities; eventually they started having mixed marriages which then created the group of Kamchadals.

What are their beliefs?
One of their religious beliefs is fetishism: Men and women wear amulets in the form of idols. They also practice shamanism and want to understand everything including the natural phenomenon and the spirits who live around them. When they honored those spirits, it was directly connected to assuming this would impact their material prosperity. They worshiped the spirit of the sea that gave man fish. They would hold celebrations of "purification" in November for the spirit of the sea. They also worshiped fire, which was presented as a shrine. They believed the world is eternal and souls are immortal. An ancestor, the creator of the nation, was believed to be Raven (Kutkha). All of their beliefs and signs had their own vital role. For example, you wouldn't disassemble old houses and booths in the spring because there were many "Yukol moths." It was also absolutely forbidden to save drowning people or people who got stuck in an avalanche because they were afraid of the spirits.

Prayer Points
Pray that He will share His heart with the "inhabitant of dry land" by sending workers who will go to this harsh, isolated harvest field.
Ask Him to break through the veil of darkness and despair that rests over the Itelman with the saving light of His gospel.
Pray for God to give them dreams of a better life with Christ.
Pray for today's missionaries to approach the Itelman with gentleness and respect, bringing the gospel of Jesus.

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Country: Russia
Continent: Asia
Region: Europe, Eastern and Eurasia
10/40 Window: No
Location in Country:Kamchatka: west coast, Tigil region, Kamchatka district, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskij.
(Source: Ethnologue 2016)
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Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Itelmen
People Name General: Itelmen
Alternate People Names:
Russian Itelmen
ROP3 Code: 104106
Joshua Project People ID: 12280
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 3,200
Population all Countries: 3,200
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Turkic Peoples
People Cluster: Ural-Siberian
People Name General: Itelmen
Ethnic Code: MSY48
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Russian
Language Code (ISO): rus    Ethnologue Listing
Secondary Languages:
Itelmen (Unknown)
Total Languages: 2
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity5.00 %(Evangelical: 0.94 %)
Ethnic Religions95.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1815-1993
New Testament:
Complete Bible: 1875-2016
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching
Audio RecordingsOnline Audio Scripture
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio
Film / VideoGod's Story video
Film / Video / Animation
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Russian
Film / VideoLove letter to you from scripture
Film / VideoLUMO film of Gospels
Film / VideoMagdalena video
Film / VideoMy Last Day video, anime
Film / VideoRivka video
Film / VideoStory of Jesus for Children
Film / VideoThe Hope Video
Film / VideoWorld Christian Videos
GeneralBible for Children
GeneralBiblical answers to your questions
GeneralFour Spiritual Laws
GeneralGeneral Ministry Resources
GeneralGospel resources links
GeneralGospel resources links
GeneralOpen-licensed Bible stories on mobile ap ...
GeneralWalk with the Prophets and meet the Mess ...
GeneralZume Resources
GeneralZume Training
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app as APK file
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app as APK file
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app as APK file
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app from Google Pla ...
Text / Printed MatterBible Gateway scripture
Text / Printed MatterBible: Comic Book Version
Text / Printed MatterBible: Russian
Text / Printed MatterBible: Russian
Text / Printed MatterBible: Russian
Text / Printed MatterBible: Russian
Text / Printed MatterCartoon Gospel tract
Text / Printed MatterChildren and youth resources
Text / Printed MatterChrist for the Nations
Text / Printed MatterJesus Messiah comic book
Text / Printed MatterLiteracy primer for Russian
Text / Printed MatterThe Ancient Path
Text / Printed MatterTools for faith conversations
Text / Printed MatterTopical Scripture booklets and Bible stu ...
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Itelmen in Russia

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Ural-Siberian     Europe, Eastern and Eurasia    
      Itelmen Russia    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Itelmen in Russia          
      Religion Language  
      Ethnic Religions     Russian  
    All Religions                              

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