Alaskan Athabaskans

The Alaskan Athabascans,[2][3][4][5] Alaskan Athabascans,[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.

Alaskan Athabascans
Former Gwich’in Grand Chief Clarence Alexander
Total population
6,400[1]
Regions with significant populations
Alaska
Languages
Northern Athabaskan languages, American English (Alaskan variant), Russian (historically and spoken by some)
Religion
Shamanism (largely ex), Christianity

In Alaska, where they are the oldest, there are eleven groups identified by the languages they speak. These are the Dena’ina or Tanaina (Ht’ana), Ahtna or Copper River Athabascan (Hwt’aene), Deg Hit’an or Ingalik (Hitʼan), Holikachuk (Hitʼan), Koyukon (Hut’aane), Upper Kuskokwim or Kolchan (Hwt’ana), Tanana or Lower Tanana (Kokht’ana), Tanacross or Tanana Crossing (Koxt’een), Upper Tanana (Kohtʼiin), Gwich'in or Kutchin (Gwich’in), and Hän (Hwëch’in). 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).[11]

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".[12]


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