‘Cham’ originally known as ‘Chum’ meaning brother (a mutation due to bad pronunciation by traders and neighboring tribes) is a Lilliputian minority ethnic group found in the southern part of Gombe in Balanga local government area along Yola road. According to Hassan Tom Firi quoted by Albashi in The Socio-cultural Impart of the missionary Activities in Cham District of Balanga Local Government of Bauchi State.(1990). The people of cham migrated from Yamel in the Far East with some tribes like Lunguda, Tula and Dadiya at about 1777. They came to Africa through Egypt and made their way to Nigeria through southern Borno and settled at Kindiyo and Mwona (pronounce as mona) present day cham district in 1880.
Cham language appertains to the numerous Chadic languages(a member of languages of the Afroasiatic Phylum, together with Semitic, Ancient Egyptian, Berber and Cushitic spoken mostly in the Chad republic, Cameroon and northern Nigeria) found across Africa. The people of Cham are found in two states: Gombe state and Adamawa state. But they are found in substantial number at Gombe in Balanga local government area with a district and an independent chief. The current ‘Nidu’ that is ‘king’ is James D. Chachi.
Aside from being one of the beautiful and enthralling languages that the world is blessed with, Cham is also one of the names of the towns of the tribe and the headquarter of the cham district.
The industrious, hospitable, peaceful and united people of cham are majorly farmers producing both cash and food crops like cotten, groundnut and rice; Guinea-corn, maize, millet and beans respectively. However, today they are found in virtually every sphere of both public and private businesses. Traditionally they are animists and ancestrologists, but in recent times many of them have embraced Christianity and Islam. Despite this, the Cham people still holds on to some of their traditions and cultural heritage with pride like the 'Chigote' festival which is famous among the people and which is celebrated every April of each year as an annual festival in Cham. 'Chigote' means friends. importantly also , 'the people of Cham refer to themselves as 'Dijim' a plural form of 'Nidiji' which connotes something that appeared from the earth and having deep root'(Albashi).