Itelmen Language Classes in
This project results from an initiative of Tjan Zaotschnaja and aims to
support the preservation of the Itelmen language in Kamchatka. It is
being conducted in cooperation with the Munich-based group of the
Society for Threatened Peoples ("Gesellschaft für
bedrohte Völker – Regionalgruppe München").
The Itelmen language is one of the most threatened languages in the
world. There are only about two dozen remaining speakers of the older
generation who speak the language fluently. At the same time, among
Itelmen youth and in particular among those who live in the capital of
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski, there is a growing interest in maintaining
their native language. For them, it embodies not only specific
indigenous knowledge; it links them to their ancestors, one of the most
ancient peoples of Kamchatka.
In 2010, a first project – organized and driven by Tjan Zaotschnaja –
was launched by the Foundation for Siberian Cultures in cooperation
with the Munich-based group of the Society for Threatened Peoples and
supported by the organization pro Siberia e.V.. Funding was provided to
cover travel and accommodation costs in St. Petersburg of a future
Itelmen teacher to take his exams there and the publication of his
first Itelmen textbook.
The photos show the teacher, Viktor Ryzhkov, who has been supported by
this project, while he is teaching classes in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski
and in the Elizovo-district. (Photos by Al'bina Morilova)