Koryaks (or Koriak) are an indigenous people of the Russian Far East, who live immediately north of the Kamchatka Peninsula in Kamchatka Krai and inhabit the coastlands of the Bering Sea. The cultural borders of the Koryaks include Tigilsk in the south and the Anadyr basin in the north.
The Koryaks are culturally similar to the Chukchis of extreme northeast Siberia. The Koryak language and Alutor (which is often regarded as a dialect of Koryak), are linguistically close to the Chukchi language. All of these languages are members of the Chukotko-Kamchatkan language family. They are more distantly related to the Itelmens on the Kamchatka Peninsula. All of these peoples and other, unrelated minorities in and around Kamchatka are known collectively as Kamchadals.
The Koryak are typically split into two groups: the coastal people Nemelan (or Nymylan) meaning 'village dwellers,' due to their living in villages. Their lifestyle is based on local fishing and marine mammal hunting. The inland Koryak, reindeer herders, are called Chaucu (or Chauchuven), meaning 'rich in reindeer.' They are more nomadic, following the herds as they graze with the seasons.
According to the 2010 census, there were 7,953 Koryaks in Russia.
Koryak ceremony of starting the New Fire
|Regions with significant populations|
|Russia||7,953 (2010 census)|
|Ukraine||69 (2001 census)|
|Predominantly Russian Orthodox Christianity|
|Related ethnic groups|
|other Chukotko-Kamchatkan peoples|
The name Koryak was from the exonym word 'Korak,' meaning 'with the reindeer (kor)' in a nearby group Chukotko-Kamchatkan language. The earliest references to the name 'Koryak' were recorded in the writings of the Russian cossack Vladimir Atlasov, who conquered Kamchatka for the Tsar in 1695. The variant name was adopted by Russia in official state documents, hence popularizing it ever since.
The origin of the Koryak is unknown. Anthropologists have speculated that a land bridge connected the Eurasian and North American continent during Late Pleistocene. It is possible that migratory peoples crossed the modern-day Koryak land en route to North America. Scientists have suggested that people traveled back and forth between this area and Haida Gwaii before the ice age receded. They theorize that the ancestors of the Koryak had returned to Siberian Asia from North America during this time. Cultural and some linguistic similarity exist between the Nivkh and the Koryak.
The Koryak once occupied a much larger area of the Russian Far East. Their overlapping borders extended to the Nivkh areas in Khabarovsk Krai until the Evens arrived, and pushed them into their present region. A smallpox epidemic in 1769-1770 and warfare with Russian Cossacks reduced the Koryak population from 10-11,000 in 1700 to 4,800 in 1800.
Families usually gathered into groups of six or seven, forming bands. The nominal chief had no predominating authority, and the groups relied on consensus to make decisions, resembling common small group egalitarianism.
The lives of the people in the interior revolved around reindeer, their main source of food. They also used all the parts of its body to make sewing materials and clothing, tools and weapons. The meat was mostly eaten roasted and the blood, marrow and milk were drunk or eaten raw. The liver, heart, kidneys and tongue were considered delicacies. Salmon and other freshwater fish as well as berries and roots played a major part in the diet, as reindeer flesh did not contain some necessary vitamins and minerals, nor dietary fibre, needed to survive in the harsh tundra. The people produced cheese, butter and fermented milk from reindeer milk.
Clothing was made out of reindeer hides, but nowadays men and women often have replaced that with cloth. The men wore baggy pants and a hide shirt, which often had a hood attached to it, boots and traditional caps made of reindeer skin. They still use the boots and caps. The women wore the same as the men, but with a longer shirt reaching to the calves. Today women often wear a head cloth and skirt, but wear the reindeer skin robe in cold weather.
The Koryak lived in conical shaped huts, called jajanga, similar to a tipi of the American Plains Indians, but less vertical. The framework was covered in many reindeer skins. Many families still use the chum as dwellings, but some live in log cabins. The centre of the chum had a hearth, which has been replaced by an iron stove. Reindeer hide beds are placed to the east in the chum. They used small cupboards to store the families' food, clothing and personal items.
The inland Koryak rode reindeer to get around, cutting off their antlers to prevent injuries. They also fitted a team of reindeer with harnesses and attached them to sleds to transport goods and people when moving camp. Today the Koryak use snowmobiles more often than reindeer. Most inter-village transport is by air or boat, although tracked vehicles are used for travel to neighboring villages.
They developed snowshoes, which they used in winter (and still do) when the snow is deep. Snowshoes are made by lashing reindeer sinew and hide strips to a tennis racket-shaped birch bark or willow hoop. The sinew straps are used to attach the shoe to the foot.
Children learned to ride a reindeer, sleigh, and use snowshoes at a very young age.
The other Koryak were skilled seafarers hunting whales and other marine mammals.
Koryaks believe in a Supreme Being whom they call by various names: Ñaíñinen (Universe/World), Ináhitela'n (Supervisor), Gichol-Eti'nvila'n (Master-of-the-Upper-World), Gi'chola'n (One-on-High), etc. He is considered to reside in Heaven with his family and when he wishes to punish mankind for immoral acts, he falls asleep and thus leaves man vulnerable to unsuccessful hunting and other ills. Koryak mythology centers on the supernatural shaman Quikil (Big-Raven), who was created by the Supreme Being as the first man and protector of the Koryak. Big Raven myths are also found in Southeast Alaska in the Tlingit culture, and among the Haida, Tsimshian, and other natives of the Pacific Northwest Coast Amerindians.
Koryak lands are mountains and volcanic, covered in mostly Arctic tundra. Coniferous trees lie near the southern regions along the coast of the Shelekhova Bay of the Sea of Okhotsk. The northern regions inland are much colder, where only various shrubs grow, but these are enough to sustain reindeer migration. The mean temperature in winter is –25 °C (-13 °F) while short summers are +12 °C (53 °F). The area they covered before Russian colonization was 301,500 km² (116,410 mi²), roughly corresponding to the Koryak Okrug, of which the administrative centre is Palana. Today the Koryak are the largest minority group with 8,743 people. The krai's population is now majority ethnic Russian, descendants of the Cossack colonizers.
The Alyutors (Russian: Алюторцы; self designation: Алутальу, or Alutal'u) are an ethnic group (formerly classified as a subgroup of Koryaks) who lived on the Kamchatka Peninsula and Chukchi Peninsula of the Russian Far East. Today most of them live in Koryak Okrug of Kamchatka Krai.
The name also occurs as Olyutorka, a settlement where many of the Alyutor people formerly lived.
There is no precise data on the number of Alyutor people, but it is estimated that there are approximately 2,000 to 3,000 of them living in Russia in the present day.Anadyrsk
Anadyrsk was an important Russian ostrog (fortified settlement) in far northeastern Siberia from 1649 to 1764. It was on the Anadyr River, near the head of small-boat navigation, about 300 miles upstream, near the present Markovo.
In 1649 Semyon Dezhnyov built a zimov'ye (winter quarters) here after being wrecked on the Pacific coast the previous year. In 1650 Mikhail Stadukhin and Semyon Motora arrived overland from the Kolyma River. In 1659 Kurbat Ivanov took over, build a proper stockade and made major improvements in administration. About 1697, Anadyrsk was the launching place for Vladimir Atlasov's conquest of Kamchatka. The local Chukchis and Koryaks were warlike, and the post was attacked a number of times. Kennan reports its garrison through much of its service was 600 men and a battery of artillery. Its importance declined with the opening of the sea route through Okhotsk to Kamchatka in 1718. Subsequently, its importance was limited to interactions with the Chukchis. Concluding that attempts to collect tribute from the Chukchis were not a paying proposition, the Russian government of Catherine II ordered Anadyrsk abandoned in 1764.
In 1866, when it was visited by George Kennan (at that time only the second non-Russian or non-native in living memory to do so), Anadyrsk consisted of four villages: Markovo (the central one), Pokorukov, Psolkin and Krepost. There were about 200 inhabitants and a priest. Krepost ('fort') was the site of the Anadyrsk fort, on a bank about 30 feet above the level of the river, and at that time consisted of a dozen log cabins, with no trace of the old fortifications visible. Markovo was about 15 versts (16 km) upriver, and Pokorukov a further 20 versts. Kennan described it as the Ultima Thule of Russian civilization.Apuka
The Apuka are one of the nine subdivisions of the Koryaks. In pre-Soviet Russia they were considered to be a distinct people. They speak their own dialect of the Koryak language. They live primarily along the coast of the Bering Sea.Chukchi language
Chukchi is a Chukotko–Kamchatkan language spoken by the Chukchi people in the easternmost extremity of Siberia, mainly in Chukotka Autonomous Okrug. According to the Russian Census of 2002, about 7,000 of the 15,700 Chukchi people speak Chukchi; knowledge of the Chukchi language is decreasing, and most Chukchi now speak the Russian language (fewer than 100 report not speaking Russian at all).
The language is closely related to Koryak. Chukchi, Koryak, Kerek, Alutor, and Itelmen, form the Chukotko-Kamchatkan languages language family. There are many cultural similarities between the Chukchis and Koryaks, including economies based on reindeer herding. Both peoples refer to themselves by the endonym Luorawetlat (‘ԓыгъоравэтԓьат’ [ɬəɣʔorawetɬʔat]; singular Luorawetlan – ‘ԓыгъоравэтԓьан’ [ɬəɣʔorawetɬʔan]), meaning "the real people". All of these peoples and other unrelated minorities in and around Kamchatka are known collectively as Kamchadals.
Chukchi and Chukchee are anglicized versions of the Russian exonym Chukcha (plural Chukchi). This came into Russian from Čävča, the term used by the Chukchis' Tungusic-speaking neighbors, itself a rendering of the Chukchi word ‘чавчыв’ [tʃawtʃəw], which in Chukchi means "a man who is rich in reindeer".
In the UNESCO Red Book, the language is on the list of endangered languages.Chuvans
Chuvans (Russian: чува́нцы) are one of the forty or so "Indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East" recognized by the Russian government. Most Chuvans today live within Chukotka Autonomous Okrug in the far northeast of Russia. Based on first-hand field research by several ethnographers in the 1990s, people who self-identify as Chuvans seem to do so by living in small villages and in the tundra in areas that are primarily associated with reindeer herding.Circumpolar peoples
Circumpolar peoples and Arctic peoples are umbrella terms for the various indigenous peoples of the Arctic.Fedot Alekseyevich Popov
Fedot Alekseyevich Popov (Russian: Федот Алексеевич Попов, also Fedot Alekseyev, Russian: Федот Алексеев; nickname Kholmogorian, Russian: Холмогорец, for his place of birth (Kholmogory), date of birth unknown, died between 1648 and 1654) was a Russian explorer who organized the first European expedition through the Bering Strait.
He was normally known as Fedot Alekseyev. Only a few sources call him the son of Popov. He was from Kholmogory and the agent of Alexey Usov who was a member of the Gostinaya Sotnya, the highest merchant guild in Moscow. (Some time between 1647 and 1653 Usov petitioned to have Fedot apprehended on the grounds that Usov had sent him to Siberia with 3,500 rubles worth of goods and he had not reported back for eight years.) He went to Siberia in 1639. Moving east, he was at Tyumen, Tobolsk, Tomsk, Yeniseisk (1641) and Yakutsk(1642). In 1642 he joined a group of about 100 men under Ivan Rebrov who went down the Lena to the sea and up the Olenyok River to the west. Fedot had 29 men under him. Two years later they were defeated by the local Tungus and fled down the river. Fedot and some of his companions sailed east to the Kolyma River.
When he arrived at Srednekolymsk in 1645 he had 12 men with him and, probably, his Yakut concubine. Hearing of a rich 'Pogycha River' somewhere to the east, he organized an expedition to find it. Since he was not a service-man, Semyon Dezhnev was called in as the official leader. In June 1647 he sailed down the river to the Arctic with 50 men in four koches but they were forced to turn back due to thick ice. Next year they tried again. For a fuller account see Semyon Dezhnev. Sometime in September he rounded the northeastern tip of Asia and entered the Pacific Ocean. On September 20, 1648 (old style, September 30 in our calendar) he was wounded in a fight with the Chukchis. About the first of October (o.s) a storm separated Fedot's and Dezhnev's boats and we lose track of him. In 1653/54 Dezhnev captured his Yakut woman from the Koryaks. She said that Fedot died of scurvy, some of his companions were killed by the Koryaks and the rest fled in small boats to an unknown fate. From the location of the woman's capture, it is likely that his boat was wrecked somewhere not far south of Anadyr Estuary.
Dezhnev is usually called the first European to reach the Bering Strait since he was the formal leader and left most of the documents, but Fedot Alexeyev organized the expedition and may have been more important than the few surviving documents indicate.
The Fedotov Legend: When, in 1697, Vladimir Atlasov reached Kamchatka, he heard that other Russians had been there first. The natives said that a certain 'Fedotov' and his men had lived on the Nikul River, a tributary to the Kamchatka River, and had married local women. The ruins of their huts could still be seen. The natives thought they were gods or demons and left them alone, but when they saw one Russian kill another, they changed their minds. The Russians were attacked and fled, some going west to the sea of Okhotsk. All were killed, some by the Kamchadals, some by the Koryaks.
So who was Fedotov? There have been four answers: 1)Gerhardt Friedrich Müller thought he was probably Fedot's son, but offered no evidence. 2)Stepan Krasheninnikov thought he was Fedot himself and tried to reconcile this with the Yakut woman's story. Other versions of Fedotov=Fedot have been tried. 3) He may have been one of the lost men from the Dezhnev or some other expedition. In Siberia at this time there was a Vas'ka Fedotov, a few people who used Fedotov as a patronymic and various Fedors and so on whose names could have been garbled. 4) He was some other Russian who does not appear in the surviving records. About all we can say is that some Russians reached Kamchatka in the second half of the 17th century and died there. Who they were is a matter of speculation.Indigenous peoples of Siberia
Including the Russian Far East, the population of Siberia numbers just above 40 million people.
As a result of the 17th to 19th century Russian conquest of Siberia and the subsequent population movements during the Soviet era, the demographics of Siberia today is dominated by native speakers of Russian. There remain a considerable number of indigenous groups, between them accounting for below 10% of total Siberian population (About 4,500,000), which are also genetically related to indigenous peoples of the Americas.Itelmens
The Itelmens (Itelmen: Итәнмән, Russian: Ительмены) are an ethnic group native to the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia. The Itelmen language is distantly related to Chukchi and Koryak, forming the Chukotko-Kamchatkan language family, but it is now virtually extinct, the vast majority of ethnic Itelmens being native speakers of Russian. A. P. Volodin has published a grammar of the Itelmen language.
Native peoples of Kamchatka (Itelmen, Ainu, Koryaks and Chuvans), collectively referred to as Kamchadals, had a substantial hunter-gatherer and fishing society with up to fifty thousand natives inhabiting the peninsula before they were decimated by the Cossack conquest in the 18th century. So much intermarriage took place between the natives and the Cossacks that Kamchadal now refers to the majority mixed population, while the term Itelmens became reserved for persistent speakers of the Itelmen language. By 1993, there were less than 100 elderly speakers of the language left, but some 2,400 people considered themselves ethnic Itelmen in the 1989 census. By 2002, this number had risen to 3,180, and there are attempts at reviving the language. According to the 2010 census, there were 3,193 Itelmen in Russia.
Itelmens resided primarily in the valley of the Kamchatka River in the middle of the peninsula. One of the few sources describing the Itelmen prior to assimilation is that of Georg Wilhelm Steller, who accompanied Vitus Bering on his Great Northern Expedition (Second Expedition to Kamchatka).Kamchadals
The Kamchadals (Russian: камчадалы) are native people of Kamchatka, Russia. The name Kamchadal was applied to the descendants of the local Siberians and aboriginal peoples (the Itelmens, Ainu, Koryaks and Chuvans), who assimilated with the Russians. These descendants of the mix-blooded Russian settlers in 18th-19th century are called Kamchadals these days. The Kamchadals speak Russian with a touch of local dialects of the aboriginal languages of Kamchatka. The Kamchadals are engaged in fur trading, fishing, market gardening and dairy farming, and are of the Russian Orthodox faith.Kamchatka Oblast
Kamchatka Oblast (Russian: Камча́тская о́бласть, Kamchatskaya oblast) was, until being incorporated into Kamchatka Krai on July 1, 2007, a federal subject of Russia (an oblast). To the north, it bordered Magadan Oblast and Chukotka Autonomous Okrug. Koryak Autonomous Okrug was located in the northern part of the oblast. Including the autonomous okrug, the total area of the oblast was 472,300 square kilometres (182,400 sq mi), encompassing the southern half of the Kamchatka Peninsula. The administrative center of Kamchatka Oblast was the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Population: 358,801 (2002 Census); 466,096 (1989 Census).Kamchatka's natural resources include coal, gold, mica, pyrites, and natural gas. Most of the inhabitants live in the administrative center, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The main employment sectors are fishing, forestry, tourism (a growing industry), and the Russian military. There is still a large military presence on the peninsula; the home base of Russia's Pacific submarine fleet is across Avacha Bay from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky at the Rybachy base. There are also several air force bases and radar sites in Kamchatka.
As of the 2002 All-Russian Population Census, the majority of the 358,801 population is Russian (290,108), largest minorities are Ukrainian (20,870) and Koryak (7,328). The northern part of the peninsula is occupied by Koryak Autonomous Okrug, where around 6,700 Koryaks live. A small number of Evens also live here.
The oblast was established on October 20, 1932.Kamchatka Peninsula
The Kamchatka Peninsula (Russian: полуо́стров Камча́тка, Poluostrov Kamchatka, IPA: [pəlʊˈostrəf kɐmˈt͡ɕætkə]) is a 1,250-kilometre-long (780 mi) peninsula in the Russian Far East, with an area of about 270,000 km2 (100,000 sq mi). The Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Okhotsk make up the peninsula's eastern and western coastlines, respectively. Immediately offshore along the Pacific coast of the peninsula runs the 10,500-metre (34,400-ft) deep Kuril–Kamchatka Trench.
The Kamchatka Peninsula, the Commander Islands, and Karaginsky Island constitute the Kamchatka Krai of the Russian Federation. The vast majority of the 322,079 inhabitants are ethnic Russians, but about 13,000 Koryaks (2014) live there as well. More than half of the population lives in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (179,526 in 2010) and nearby Yelizovo (38,980). The Kamchatka peninsula contains the volcanoes of Kamchatka, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Karaga people
The Karaga are a geographical subgroup of the Koryaks. They live on the Kamchatka Peninsula primarily in the Koryak Autonomous Oblast.Karaginsky Island
Karaginsky Island or Karaginskiy Island (Russian: Карагинский остров) is an island in the Karaginsky Gulf of the Bering Sea. The 40 km-wide strait between the Kamchatka Peninsula and this island is called Litke Strait. Karaginsky Island is a Ramsar site.
Even though the island is uninhabited, the Karagin Koryaks have traditionally lived in Karaginskiy Island. Migrant reindeer herders still live in temporary shelters on the island.
The island is 101 km long and up to 27 km wide, with an area of 2,404 km². The highest peak of the island is 912 m. Karaginsky Island is covered with tundra vegetation and cedar underwood. In the summer there are many flowers.
Currently this island is popular with tourists who come to enjoy the wildlife. An amateur radio DXpedition (RI0X) visited here during 2014.
45 km north of Karaginsky Island's northern tip lies the small and narrow Verkhoturov Island (Ostrov Verkhoturova). It is 3.5 km long and has an average width of 0.5 km.Koryak
Koryak may refer to:
Koryaks, a people of northeastern Siberia
Koryak language, language of the Koryaks
Koryak Okrug, an administrative division of Kamchatka Krai, Russia
Koryak, the son of Aquaman, a fictional character in DC ComicsKoryak Okrug
Koryak Okrug (Russian: Коря́кский о́круг, translit. Korjakskij okrug; Koryak: Чав’чываокруг, Čav’čyvaokrug), or Koryakia Russian: Корякия, translit. Korjakija), is an administrative division of Kamchatka Krai, Russia. It was a federal subject of Russia (an autonomous okrug of Kamchatka Oblast) from 1931 until July 1, 2007, when it merged with Kamchatka Oblast. Prior to the merger, it was called Koryak Autonomous Okrug (Коря́кский автоно́мный о́круг). Its administrative center is the urban locality (an urban-type settlement) of Palana. Population: 18,759 (2010 Census); 25,157 (2002 Census); 39,363 (1989 Census).Koryak language
Koryak () is a Chukotko-Kamchatkan language spoken by about 1,700 people in the easternmost extremity of Siberia, mainly in Koryak Okrug. It is mostly spoken by Koryaks. Its close relative, the Chukchi language, is spoken by about three times that number. The language together with Chukchi, Kerek, Alutor and Itelmen forms the Chukotko-Kamchatkan language family. Its native name in Koryak is нымылан nymylan, but the Russian name is more common.
The Chukchi and Koryaks form a cultural unit with an economy based on reindeer herding and both have autonomy within the Russian Federation.Kutkh
Kutkh (also Kutkha, Kootkha, Kutq Kutcha and other variants, Russian: Кутх), is a Raven spirit traditionally revered in various forms by various indigenous peoples of the Russian Far East. Kutkh appears in many legends: as a key figure in creation, as a fertile ancestor of mankind, as a mighty shaman and as a trickster. He is a popular subject of the animist stories of the Chukchi people and plays a central role in the mythology of the Koryaks and Itelmens of Kamchatka. Many of the stories regarding Kutkh are similar to those of the Raven among the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast, suggesting a long history of indirect cultural contact between Asian and North American peoples.Reindeer in Siberian shamanism
Reindeer in Siberian shamanism reflect the cultural, as well as the economic, relationship between the native peoples of Siberia, a region of Northern Asia, and the reindeer that live there. It involves the nomadic reindeer herders, those that hunt wild reindeer and those who maintain domesticated ones. Their religious beliefs reflect the spiritual philosophy of shamanism, and their traditions often involve reindeer in several steps of the process of practicing their religion.
Christ Pantocrator (circa 1261) in Hagia Sophia
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