Alaska Natives
Overview
 
Alaska Natives are the indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 of Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

. They include: Aleut, Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian
Tsimshian
The Tsimshian are an indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Tsimshian translates to Inside the Skeena River. Their communities are in British Columbia and Alaska, around Terrace and Prince Rupert and the southernmost corner of Alaska on Annette Island. There are approximately 10,000...

, Eyak
Eyak
The Eyak are an indigenous group traditionally located on the Copper River Delta and near the town of Cordova, Alaska.-Territory:The Eyak's territory reached from present day Cordova east to the Martin River and north to Miles Glacier....

, and a number of Northern Athabaskan cultures.
In 1912 the Alaska Native Brotherhood was founded. In 1971 Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 passed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act
Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act
The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, commonly abbreviated ANCSA, was signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon on December 23, 1971, the largest land claims settlement in United States history. ANCSA was intended to resolve the long-standing issues surrounding aboriginal land claims in...

, which settled land and financial claims, and provided for the establishment of 13 Alaska Native Regional Corporations
Alaska Native Regional Corporations
The Alaska Native Regional Corporations were established in 1971 when the United States Congress passed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act which settled land and financial claims made by the Alaska Natives and provided for the establishment of 13 regional corporations to administer those...

 to administer those claims. Similar to the status of the Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

 and First Nations
First Nations
First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

, which are recognized as distinct peoples, Alaska Natives are in some respects treated separately from Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

.
Encyclopedia
Alaska Natives are the indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 of Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

. They include: Aleut, Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian
Tsimshian
The Tsimshian are an indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Tsimshian translates to Inside the Skeena River. Their communities are in British Columbia and Alaska, around Terrace and Prince Rupert and the southernmost corner of Alaska on Annette Island. There are approximately 10,000...

, Eyak
Eyak
The Eyak are an indigenous group traditionally located on the Copper River Delta and near the town of Cordova, Alaska.-Territory:The Eyak's territory reached from present day Cordova east to the Martin River and north to Miles Glacier....

, and a number of Northern Athabaskan cultures.

History

In 1912 the Alaska Native Brotherhood was founded. In 1971 Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 passed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act
Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act
The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, commonly abbreviated ANCSA, was signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon on December 23, 1971, the largest land claims settlement in United States history. ANCSA was intended to resolve the long-standing issues surrounding aboriginal land claims in...

, which settled land and financial claims, and provided for the establishment of 13 Alaska Native Regional Corporations
Alaska Native Regional Corporations
The Alaska Native Regional Corporations were established in 1971 when the United States Congress passed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act which settled land and financial claims made by the Alaska Natives and provided for the establishment of 13 regional corporations to administer those...

 to administer those claims. Similar to the status of the Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 Inuit
Inuit
The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

 and First Nations
First Nations
First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

, which are recognized as distinct peoples, Alaska Natives are in some respects treated separately from Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

. An example of this separate treatment is that Alaska Natives are allowed the harvesting of whales
Whaling
Whaling is the hunting of whales mainly for meat and oil. Its earliest forms date to at least 3000 BC. Various coastal communities have long histories of sustenance whaling and harvesting beached whales...

 and other marine mammals under the Marine Mammal Protection Act
Marine Mammal Protection Act
The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 was the first article of legislation to call specifically for an ecosystem approach to natural resource management and conservation. MMPA prohibits the taking of marine mammals, and enacts a moratorium on the import, export, and sale of any marine mammal,...

 of 1972. In addition, Alaska Natives were not given title to land under the Dawes Act
Dawes Act
The Dawes Act, adopted by Congress in 1887, authorized the President of the United States to survey Indian tribal land and divide the land into allotments for individual Indians. The Act was named for its sponsor, Senator Henry L. Dawes of Massachusetts. The Dawes Act was amended in 1891 and again...

 but were instead treated under the Alaska Native Allotment Act
Alaska Native Allotment Act
The Alaska Native Allotment Act of 1906, , enacted on May 17, 1906, permitted individual Alaska Natives to acquire title to up to of land in a manner similar to that afforded to Native Americans in the other states and territories of the United States under the General Allotment Act of 1887...

 until it was repealed in 1971. Another characteristic difference is that Alaska Native tribal governments do not have the power to collect taxes for business transacted on tribal land, per the United States Supreme Court decision in Alaska v. Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government
Alaska v. Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government
Alaska v. Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government, 522 U.S. 520 , was a case heard by the Supreme Court of the United States. The local tribal council in Venetie, Alaska, wanted to collect tax from non-tribal members doing business on tribal lands. The Supreme Court granted certiorari on appeal...

because Alaska Natives (except for Tsimshian
Tsimshian
The Tsimshian are an indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Tsimshian translates to Inside the Skeena River. Their communities are in British Columbia and Alaska, around Terrace and Prince Rupert and the southernmost corner of Alaska on Annette Island. There are approximately 10,000...

s) do not hold reservations.

Subsistence

Gathering of subsistence foodstuffs continues to be an important economic and cultural activity for many Alaska Natives. In Barrow, Alaska, over ninety-one percent of the Iñupiat households that were interviewed participate in the local subsistence economy, compared with approximately two-thirds of non-Iñupiat households did not use wild resources obtained from hunting, fishing, or gathering. However, unlike many tribes in the contiguous United States, Alaska Natives do not have treaties with the United States that protect their subsistence rights. Further, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act
Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act
The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, commonly abbreviated ANCSA, was signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon on December 23, 1971, the largest land claims settlement in United States history. ANCSA was intended to resolve the long-standing issues surrounding aboriginal land claims in...

, explicitly extinguished aboriginal hunting and fishing rights in the state of Alaska.

Cultures

Below is a full list of the different Alaska Native cultures. Within each culture are many different tribes.
  • Athabascan
    • Ahtna
      Ahtna
      The Ahtna are one of the tribes of Athabaskan people in Alaska. The tribe's homeland is located in the Copper River area of southern Alaska, and the name Ahtna derives from the local name for the Copper River...

    • Deg Hit’an
      Deg Hit’an
      Deg Hit’an is a group of Northern Athabascan peoples in Alaska. Their native language is called Deg Xinag. They reside in Alaska along the Anvik River in Anvik, along the Innoko River in Shageluk, and at Holy Cross along the lower Yukon River...

    • Dena'ina

}
    • Hän
      Han
      -China:* China , an abbreviation or adjectival modifier for things Chinese* Han Chinese , the dominant majority ethnic group of China and overseas Chinese...

    • Holikachuk
      Holikachuk
      Holikachuk are an Athabaskan people native to western Alaska. Their native territory includes the area surrounding the middle and upper Innoko River. Later in 1963 they moved to Grayling on the Yukon River.The Holikachuk call themselves Doogh Hit’an...

    • Kolchan
    • Koyukon
      Koyukon
      The Koyukon are a group of Athabaskan people living in northern Alaska. Their traditional home is along the Koyukuk and Yukon rivers where they subsisted by hunting and trapping for thousands of years...

    • Lower Tanana
    • Tanacross
      Tanacross
      Tanacross may refer to:*Tanacross, an Athabascan language of Alaska*Tanacross, Alaska, a census-designated place...

    • Upper Tanana
  • Eyak
    Eyak
    The Eyak are an indigenous group traditionally located on the Copper River Delta and near the town of Cordova, Alaska.-Territory:The Eyak's territory reached from present day Cordova east to the Martin River and north to Miles Glacier....

  • Haida
  • Tlingit
  • Tsimshian
    Tsimshian
    The Tsimshian are an indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Tsimshian translates to Inside the Skeena River. Their communities are in British Columbia and Alaska, around Terrace and Prince Rupert and the southernmost corner of Alaska on Annette Island. There are approximately 10,000...

  • Eskimo
    Eskimo
    Eskimos or Inuit–Yupik peoples are indigenous peoples who have traditionally inhabited the circumpolar region from eastern Siberia , across Alaska , Canada, and Greenland....

    • Inupiat (an Inuit
      Inuit
      The Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Canada , Denmark , Russia and the United States . Inuit means “the people” in the Inuktitut language...

       people)
    • Yupik
      • Siberian Yupik
        Siberian Yupik
        Siberian Yupiks, or Yuits, are indigenous people who reside along the coast of the Chukchi Peninsula in the far northeast of the Russian Federation and on St. Lawrence Island in Alaska. They speak Central Siberian Yupik , a Yupik language of the Eskimo–Aleut family of languages.They were also...

      • Yup'ik
        • Cup'ik
      • Sugpiaq (Alutiiq)
        • Chugach
          Chugach
          Chugach is the name of an Alaska Native culture and group of people in the region of the Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound. The Chugach people are an Alutiiq people who speak the Chugach dialect of the Alutiiq language....

        • Koniag
  • Aleut
    Aleut language
    Aleut is a language of the Eskimo–Aleut language family. It is the heritage language of the Aleut people living in the Aleutian Islands, Pribilof Islands, and Commander Islands. As of 2007 there were about 150 speakers of Aleut .- Dialects :Aleut is alone with the Eskimo languages in the...

     (in their own language they refer to themselves as Unangan)

See also

  • List of Alaska Native Tribal Entities, the list of Native Villages and other "tribal entities" recognized by the US Bureau of Indian Affairs
    Bureau of Indian Affairs
    The Bureau of Indian Affairs is an agency of the federal government of the United States within the US Department of the Interior. It is responsible for the administration and management of of land held in trust by the United States for Native Americans in the United States, Native American...

    .
  • Prehistory of Alaska
    Prehistory of Alaska
    Prehistoric Alaska begins with Paleolithic people moving into northwestern North America sometime between 60,000 and 50,000 BC across the Bering Land Bridge in western Alaska...

  • First Alaskans Institute
    First Alaskans Institute
    The First Alaskans Institute is a non-profit foundation dedicated to developing the capacities of Alaska Natives and their communities to meet the educational, economic and social challenges of the future...

  • Indigenous Amerindian genetics
    Indigenous Amerindian genetics
    Genetic history of indigenous peoples of the Americas primarily focus on Human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroups and Human mitochondrial DNA haplogroups. Autosomal "atDNA" markers are also used, but differ from mtDNA or Y-DNA in that they overlap significantly...

  • Indigenous peoples of the Subarctic
    Indigenous peoples of the Subarctic
    Indigenous peoples of the Subarctic are the aboriginal peoples the Subarctic regions of the Americas, located south of the true Arctic. This region includes the interior of Alaska, the Western Subarctic or western Canadian Shield and Mackenzie River drainage area, and the Eastern Subarctic or...

  • Alaska Native Storytelling
    Alaska Native Storytelling
    Alaska Native storytelling has been passed down through generations by means of oral presentation. The stories tell life lessons or serve as lessons in heritage. Many different aspects of arctic life are incorporated into each story, mainly the various animals found in Alaska...


External links

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