The Alaskan Athabascans,[2][3][4][5][6][7] Alaskan Athapascans[8] or Dena[9] (Russian: атабаски Аляски, атапаски Аляски)[10] are Alaska Native peoples of the Athabaskan-speaking ethnolinguistic group. They are the original inhabitants of the interior of Alaska.[citation needed]

Alaskan Athabascans
Former Gwichʼin grand chief Clarence Alexander in 2004
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Northern Athabaskan languages, American English (Alaskan variant), Russian (historically)
Shamanism (largely ex), Christianity

Formerly they identified as a people by the word Tinneh (nowadays Dena; cf. Dene for Canadian Athabaskans). Taken from their own language, it means simply "men" or "people".[11]

Subgroups edit

In Alaska, where they are the oldest, there are eleven groups identified by the languages they speak. These are:

Life and culture edit

The Alaskan Athabascan culture is an inland creek and river fishing (also coastal fishing by only Dena'ina of Cook Inlet) and hunter-gatherer culture. The Alaskan Athabascans have a matrilineal system in which children belong to the mother's clan, with the exception of the Yupikized Athabaskans (Holikachuk and Deg Hit'an).[12]

The Athabascan people hold potlatches which have religious, social and economic significance.[8]

Dogs were their only domesticated animal, but were and are an integral element in their culture for the Athabascan population in North America.[13]

History edit

Athabascans are descended from Asian hunter-gatherers, likely originally native to Mongolia, who crossed the Bering Strait and settled in North America.[14]

Notable Alaskan Athabascans edit

1847 illustration of Gwich'in hunters

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Athabascans of Interior Alaska".
  2. ^ "Athabascans of Interior Alaska".
  3. ^ "Appendix E: Race Code List" (PDF).
  4. ^ "South Dakota Department of Education, Race/Ethnicity Guidance, Race Identification" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-06-23. Retrieved 2014-03-14.
  5. ^ "athabascan".
  6. ^ "Alaska's Heritage: Alaskan Athabascans". Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2014-03-14.
  7. ^ Susan W. Fair (2006). Alaska Native Art: Tradition, Innovation, Continuity
  8. ^ a b William Simeone, A History of Alaskan Athapaskans, 1982, Alaska Historical Commission
  9. ^ "------------- Dena Languages -----------". anlorg.
  10. ^ Дзенискевич Г. И. Атапаски Аляски. — Л.: «Наука», Ленинградское отд., 1987
  11. ^ U.S. Government Printing Office (1900), Annual Report of the United States Geological Survey to the Secretary of the Interior
  12. ^ "athabascan indians".
  13. ^ Derr, Mark (2004). A dogs history of America. North Point Press. p. 12
  14. ^ Stockel, Henrietta (15 September 2022). Salvation Through Slavery: Chiricahua Apaches and Priests on the Spanish Colonial Frontier. University of New Mexico Press. ISBN 978-0-8263-4327-7. These words do not explain why the Athapaskans initially left their home somewhere in Asia, probably Mongolia, to settle in cold country just south of the Arctic Circle.