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An adult male Cairn


Hedril, a Cairn female child

The Cairn were a telepathic species who were so far advanced telepathically that they had lost the ability to communicate verbally. This led to the Cairn using telepathically-sent images rather than words, as unlike most other telepathic species, they had no concept of vocal language. While this allowed for a much higher rate of information exchange, other telepathic species had difficulty communicating with the Cairn, though it was possible with training. Privacy was a concept unknown to the Cairn before they started to interact with the Federation. This was somewhat similar to how the Betazoids, another telepathic species, embraced honesty almost to a point considered rude by other cultures. (TNG: "Haven", "Dark Page")

Ambassador Lwaxana Troi was assigned to help the Cairn integrate with the Federation by both communicating with them telepathically and teaching them to communicate verbally with the help of vocal enhancers. This caused strain on her and that, coupled with working with Hedril, a Cairn youth, brought back painful memories involving the death of her daughter Kestra. (TNG: "Dark Page")

In the non-canon novel Articles of the Federation, the Cairn are said to have definitely joined the Federation.
According to the Star Trek: Star Charts, on the chart "United Federation of Planets I", the Cairn were from the planet Cairn, and, by 2378, this planet had become a member of the Federation.

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