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Чалкъанду, Шалкъанду, Къуу-кижи
Chalqandu, Shalqandu, Quu-kizhi
Regions with significant populations
Altai, Russian
Russian Orthodox, Burkhanism, Shamanism
Related ethnic groups

The Chelkans (native name - Shalgan) are a small group of Turkic people living in southern Siberia. Those residing in Altai Republic are sometimes grouped together with the Altay ethnic group and those in Kemerovo Oblast are grouped with the Shors; however, they are recognized as a separate ethnic group by ethnographers. According to the 2010 census, there were 1,181 Chelkans in Russia.


The Chelkans emerged from the mixing of Turkic clans with Ket, Samoyed, and other native Siberian groups. This was a process that began as early as the period when the Yenisei Kygryz dominated the region. The Mongols then ruled over the region and people from the 13th to 18th centuries. The Dzungars than briefly controlled the area until the Chelkans (along with other Altaians) submitted to the Russians.[2]


The Chelkans were originally hunters and animals living in the taiga were their main prey and were vital to the local subsistence economy.[2]

The Chelkans traditional dwellings included polygonal yurts made out of bark or log and topped with a conic bark roof. Other types of dwellings also included conic yurts made out of bark or perches.[2]

Traditional Chelkan dress included short breeches, linen shirts, and single-breasted robes.[2]


Most modern Chelkans are Orthodox Christian. However, Burkhanism and shamanism is also found among the Chelkans.[2]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Russian Census 2010: Population by ethnicity Archived April 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine (in Russian)
  2. ^ a b c d e Encyclopedia of the world's minorities. Skutsch, Carl., Ryle, Martin (J. Martin). New York: Routledge. 2005. pp. 82–83. ISBN 1-57958-392-X.CS1 maint: others (link)