(in Russian, Ul’chi or Ol’chi; self-designation, Nani), a people living along the lower Amur River in Ul’chi Raion, Khabarovsk Krai, RSFSR. Population, 2,400 (1970 census). The unwritten Olcha language is one of the Manchu-Tungus languages. In the past, animism and shamanism were widespread among the Olcha. The Tungus of the taiga, the indigenous population of the area, and other peoples were the ancestors of the Olcha. Formerly a backward people, the Olcha have made great economic and cultural progress under the Soviet regime. Associated in kolkhozes, they engage in fishing and hunting. More than 10 percent of the Olcha live in cities; a national intelligentsia has emerged. The Olcha writer A. L. Val’diu is well known.
REFERENCESNarody Sibiri. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956.
Smoliak, A. V. Ul’chi. Moscow, 1966.