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(singular, Tofa; former name, Karagas), a small group (620 persons, according to the 1970 census) of Turkic-speaking people living in Nizhneudinsk Raion, Irkutsk Oblast. The Tofalar are related in origin, language, and culture to the Todzhin, an eastern Tuvan group.
Before the October Revolution of 1917 the economy of the Tofalar was based on nomadic reindeer breeding and hunting in the taiga; many vestiges of the primitive communal system existed. During the Soviet period, the Tofalar have made a complete changeover to a settled way of life. They currently reside in settlements equipped with all modern conveniences. Most Tofalar work on cooperative fur farms, in which the traditional forms of economy are developed. A national intelligentsia has emerged.
REFERENCESNarody Sibiri. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956.
Vainshtein, S. I. Tuvintsy-todzhintsy. Moscow, 1961.