Tribes and Dialects
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Habitat. This minor ethnic group lives on the Upper Mana and Kan rivers in the district of Krasnoyarsk, Southern Siberia.
Population. According to 1969 census data there were about 200 Kamas (N. Baskakov).
Origin. The southern Samoyedic peoples who lived in the Sayan Mountains and Southern Siberia, for example, the Karagas, Koibal, and Kamas, turkicized in the 18th--19th centuries. The Samoyed-speaking Kamas people lived on the Upper Kan river. They used the name kalmazh or kangmadzh to indicate themselves; Castrén's designation was kagmashe. Part of the Kamas people became russified while the other part were turkicized. In the 1920s some old people still remembered their old "Taiga" language.
Language. The surviving Kamas language belongs to the Uighur-Tüküi group of the Turkic languages, related to Khakass and, in particular, to its Kyzyl dialect. Characteristically, there is a strong Samoyedic substratum.
Writing. The Kamas do not have a written language, instead they employ Russian.