Teip (also taip and taipa; Vaynakh тайпа taypa [ˈtajpə]: family, kin, clan, tribe) is a Chechen and Ingush tribal organization or clan, self-identified through descent from a common ancestor and geographic location. There are about 130-233 teips (though some sources state that there may be as many as 300). More than 20 teips originated from newcomers, in particular Avars, Kumyks, Jews, Georgians, Russians, Turks, Ukrainians. The taips descending of non-Ingush or non-Chechen ancestors are called impure teips (in other languages: söli taypa, соьли тайпа). A teip's internal dynamic is based on honor, and blood feuds play a major role. The teip membership and the tukkhum membership defined the social position of a Chechen. The lack of any affiliation of a person can be described as “This man has neither a teip nor a tukkhum”.
Common teip rules and some features:
An ancient highland teip. Often called the "naive" teip for its members being too generous and warmhearted. The members of this teip have never really been on a particular side (pro-Russian or independist), but always stayed on the side which favors the Chechen nation. Chanti/chonti from Kalmyk language means "a place where wolves are present")
Historically, if non-Chechen minorities living in Chechen lands wanted to take part in the political processes of the Chechen nation, and integrate into it, they would request admittance as an ethnic teip. They would continue, for a time, to speak their other languages, but also learned Chechen. Due to the encouragement of teip exogamy, as the generations passed, they would come to be heavily intermarried into the Chechen nation and as a result, be slowly Chechenized culturally and linguistically. The level of Chechenization varies between these foreign-origin teips, with some well-preserving their cultural traits and others not. They are nonetheless known as impure teips (not in a derogatory sense), for their foreign origin. Their loyalty to the nation is not any more in question than a Chechen-origin teip.
In total there are at least 45 teips which officially declare their non-Chechen heritage. However, it is highly likely that there are many other teips with foreign origin who simply forgot their long-past ancestry. However, any such speculation on an individual teips origins contradicting their own official beliefs is highly controversial.
A notable modern example of the formation of an ethnic teip is the Germans who lived among the Chechens during their exile in Kazakhstan and Siberia: during even as short a period of 13 years, the Germans decided to join the teip system, and the new "German" taip was founded by M.Weisert, whose relatives still lived mainly in Germany. There have also been several periods where Jews living in Chechnya founded their own teip, which is still in existence, though it has shrunk considerably due to the flight of people from Chechnya due to the brutal war. There are also teips that were formed, sometimes temporarily, by Russians, Poles or Ukrainians.
There are a handful of peoples which actually have more than one ethnic teip in the teip system. There are 2 Russian teips (because Russians joined at two different periods), 2 Circassian teips (one for Kabardins and one for Western Adyghe), 6 Georgian teips, and 30 "Dagestani" teips, made up of the peoples of Dagestan (some of the teips in Chechnya may have been formed by peoples who are now in fact extinct in Dagestan).
Most ethnic teips are not incorporated into Tukkhums.
Also, two Chechen tukkhums, Myälxii and Erštxoy, are thought by some to have originally been separate Nakh peoples (the Malkh and the Arshtins). Both tukkhums speak highly divergent dialects from "Standard Chechen". If they are of foreign origin, they were absorbed as tukkhums because they already contained teips and were much larger than a typical teip, so they had to be absorbed as tukkhums. However, how separate they were from Chechens is speculative, as the relationship was most likely rather fluid (as can be seen with Ingush and Chechens today, or Czechs and Slovaks).
Smaller Nakh peoples may have been absorbed as teips. Amjad Jaimoukha wrote in his book The Chechens: A Handbook that he suspects the Chechen teip Sadoy is actually the remnant of the Isadiks, a Nakh people formerly bordering the Chechens who were wiped out (probably by Scythian invaders) in Ancient times. Likewise, he suspects that the Ingush teip Khamkhi is a remnant of the Khamekits, another former Nakh nation that was wiped out. These teips are not considered to be of foreign origin because their origin is Nakh.