Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Kamchadales, the primitive inhabitants of Kamchatka, now confined to the central and southern districts, and even here much mixed with the Russian colonists. The Itelmen, i.e. "Aborigines," as they call themselves, are grouped in three main divisions, now reduced to less than 5,000, of whom 3,000 are full-blood, the rest half-castes. They are a short, thick-set people, with long face, slightly prominent cheek-bones, flat nose, small sparkling eyes, yellowish colour, long black hair. The language is quite distinct from that of the neighbouring Koriaks, and shows no affinity to any other known Siberian tongue, the relations being expressed not by suffixes, but by prefixes attached to the unmodified roots. The vocabulary is extremely poor, there being but one word for the sun and moon, while birds and fishes are named from the months when they most abound. The Kamchadales are essentially hunters and fishers, living in pile dwellings (balangan) in summer, and in underground houses entered through a hole in the roof in winter. They are a gentle, long-suffering people, although driven to revolt in 1731 and 1740 against the intolerable oppression of their Russian taskmasters. Formerly Shamanists, most of them are now at least nominal Christians ("Orthodox Greeks"). (G. Kennan, Tent Life in Siberia and Adventures amongst the Koraks and other Tribes in Kamchatka (1871).