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Digital Archives

Home  >  Digital Archives  >  People of the North  >  Native Peoples
Athabascan
By Tricia Brown

Throughout the centuries, the Athabascan people of Alaska's great Interior traveled and hunted seasonally in small groups, moving their camps based on traditional knowledge of the creatures' habits. Moose and caribou, fish, rabbits and birds were hunted for food, and hides were tanned and sewn for clothing and shelter. Today, there are many small villages through the region -- a majority along the great rivers -- and trapping, hunting and fishing remain crucial to the subsistence lifestyle. Fish camp is the summer workplace for extended families who leave the village when salmon are running. People return to their traditional fish sites to spend time together, fishing, cutting and smoking fish, and enjoying the company of extended family and friends. At special times, the people gather at potlatches to share food, celebrate an event, or commemorate the dead. Preserving traditions, sharing, and teaching lessons from the past remain important to Athabascans, as to all Alaska Native peoples.

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Gallery of Images
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Annual trip to Tanana
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Athabascan Indian woman
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Chief Thomas and wife
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Nuklakahyet (Nuklukayet) trading station


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