The Chelkans originally lived as hunters to maintain their subsistence economy. They lived in yurts made out of bark or log topped with a conic bark roof. They wore short breeches, linen shirts and single-breasted robes.
They live in Siberia in the Republic of Altai within the Russian Federation. They emerged from the mixing of a number of Turkic clans. Mongols ruled over them from the 13th to 18th centuries Later they submitted to Russian rule.
The Chelkan speak their own distinct Northern Altai Chelkan language. Most are learning Russian as their culture and way of life is dying just as it is for most Siberian peoples.
From the 1750s to the 1770s, Christianity began to spread among the Chelkan. Christianity was especially active in the second half of 19th century. According to the population census of 1897, 34.5% of indigenous people practiced Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Even after accepting Christianity, the Chelkan and other local indigenous peoples continue to worship rivers, mountains and lakes.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Burkhanism (from "Burkhan," the name of the spirit of the Altai Mountains), a form of Lamaism with elements of Shamanism, began to spread. Today the Chelkan practice shamanism.
The Chelkan need workers to share the gospel within the Chelkan language culture. They also need people to help them adapt to Russia's modern economy.
Pray for the translation of the Bible and other resources into the Chelkan language. Until then, pray that Russian Bibles will be placed in the hands of the Chelkan who understand Russian.
Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send loving Christians who are willing to live and serve amongst the Chelkan people.
Pray that these workers will be sent to Chelkans whose hearts have been opened to hear and respond to the gospel.
Pray for the establishment of a viable, indigenous and reproducing Chelkan church.
Scripture Prayers for the Chelkan in Russia.
|Profile Source: Joshua Project
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|Altay, Altayskiy Kray, and Khakasiya; Gorno-Altai Ao mountains, along Mongolia and China border. Source: Ethnologue 2016