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Shows on the web  |  July 2011

Itelmen language and culture – ways of preserving endangered cultural heritage

The Itelmens are one of the most ancient peoples of Kamchatka. Their traditional ecological knowledge had accumulated over thousands of years. Rich narrative and song traditions are enshrined in a language that has, unfortunately, become ever more threatened. There are only a few remaining people of the older generation who speak the language fluently. Some examples are given here.

Since the mid-1990s there have been a number of German-Russian initiatives aimed at preserving the Itelmen language.  » more

In addition to Itelmen language learning tools that have been produced since then, the Foundation for Siberian Cultures (spearheaded by Tjan Zaotschnaja and in cooperation with the Munich-based group of the Society for Threatened Peoples) currently supports Itelmen classes in Kamchatka.  » more

During the annual Alchalalalai-festival in Kovran, Itelmen language and culture are celebrated and showcased, especially for young people, in artistic dance and song performances. The goal is to keep alive the memory and proud cultural heritage of this people.  » more


Valentina Uspenskaya

"Remembrances of fishing near Sedanka", 2000.

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Tat'yana Gutorova

"The eagle's song", 1999.

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Alchalalalai-festival:
Itelmen song and dance contest, 2001

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Alchalalalai-festival:
Dances by the ensemble "El'vel'"             

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