Ahtna Tribe

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The Ahtna are a hunter/fisher/gatherer tribe of Alaska’s Copper River that had little White contact until the 1880’s. The tribe’s aggressive nature allowed them to remain isolated in spite of White exploration. Their territory was sparsely populated. Though considerably smaller in population and speaking a different language, they are culturally close to the neighboring Tlingit. Raven Stealing the Sun T Shirts Raven Stealing the Sun T Shirts Language: Ahtna – There are four dialects of the Ahtna language, usually known as Lower Copper River, Central Copper River, Western Ahtna, and Upper Ahtna (also known as Mentasta or Chistochina.) Language Family: Tanaina-Ahtna Stock: Athapaskan Phylum: Na-Dene Macro-Culture: Alaska Native Village Population: In 1980 the Ahtna numbered three hundred Number of Fluent Ahtna Speakers: 80, as of 1995 Other speakers of the same language: None Historical Locations: In Alaska – Ikherkhamut, Kangikhlukmut, Kulushut, Shukhtutakhlit, Vikhit Present Locations: In Alaska – Ahtna Incorporated, Copper River

Ahtna Historical Timeline:

Year     History 1781     Russian Nagaieff discovered mouth of Copper River, hostile natives prevented exploration. 1796     Russian Samoylof attempted exploration, failed. 1798     Russian Lastochkin attempted exploration failed. 1819     Russian Klimoffsky attempted exploration failed. Russian post established near Taral. 1837     Smallpox epidemic. 1844     Russian Gregorief attempted exploration, failed. 1848     Russian Serebrannikof partially explored river, he and 3  others killed by natives;             Taral post closed. 1867     Alaska Purchase. 1882     Holt ascended to Taral, killed by natives. 1884     Lt. Abercrombie explored part of river. 1885     Lt. Allen explored to Ahtena villages. 1898     Gold rush, influx of miners. 1905     Richardson Highway opened. 1918     Influenza epidemic. 1942     Epidemic. 1948     Epidemic. 1971     Shared in $962.5 million settlement for land claims relative to Alaska Pipeline;             Athena Corporation formed for administration.

Mega Websites:

AAA Native Arts Profiles of United States Tribes A to Z Alaskan Natives Profiles of Alaskan Native Tribes A-Z

Kid’s Pages:

Facts for Kids: Ahtna Indians (Ahtnas) Information about the Ahtna Indians for students and teachers. Covers food, homes, arts and crafts, weapons, culture, and daily life of the Ahtnas.

Ahtna Authors:

John Elvis Smelcer Author, poet and Ahtna linguist.

Ahtna Culture and History:

Ahtna Heritage Foundation Information about the Ahtnas in the past and today. Copper River Valley Chamber of Commerce History of the Copper River Valley and its people. Subsistence and the Cultural Survival of the Athabascan People Personal accounts of life in the Ahtna culture. The Dance of the Ahtna Potlatch The decline of the Ahtna, Athabaskan population has increased the responsibility of the potlatch to maintain indigenous customs. The potlatch is one of the few remaining traditional Ahtna rituals, as many have become extinct. Copper River Native Places A report on culturally important places to Alaska Native tribes in Southcentral Alaska. Ahtna Tribe Presentation Slide show exploring Ahtna culture, legends, and current issues. The Past, Present and Future of the Copper River: Ahtna Management Video about traditional ways of salmon fishing in Ahtna culture along the Copper River in Alaska. Alaskan History – Athabaskans Athabaskan history, clothing and shelter, celebrations, and social organization.

Ahtna Language:

Ahtna Athabaskan Dictionary ~ Ahtna Dictionary English-Ahtna dictionaries for sale. Beautiful Words: The Complete Ahtna Poems Collection of poetry in the Ahtna language, with translation into English. Ahtna Place Names Lists Compilation of Alaskan place names from the Ahtna language. Ahtena Prayers Ahtna translations of the Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary, and several other Christian prayers, with a pronunciation guide. Ethnologue: Ahtna Demographic information about the Ahtna language. Ahtna Language Tree Theories about Ahtna’s language relationships compiled by Linguist List. Ahtna Language Structures Ahtna linguistic profile and academic bibliography. Language Documentation and Conservation C’ek’aedi Hwnax, the Ahtna Regional Linguistic and Ethnographic Archive.

Ahtna Legendary Characters:

Raven (Saghani Ggaay, pronounced sah-gah-nee guy) – American Indian god, raven spirit, trickster, transformer. Raven is the culture hero of the Ahtna and other Alaskan Athabaskan tribes. He is a revered and benevolent transformer god who helps the people and shapes their world for them, but at the same time, he is also a trickster character and many Ahtna Indian stories about Raven have to do with his frivolous or poorly thought out behavior getting him into trouble. Bush Indians (Ts’eł’eni or Kol’eni, pronounced similar to ts-elth-eh-nee): Wild men of the tundra. They are aggressive and are said to wage war against the Athabaskan people. Bush Indians are often featured as bogeymen in Athna children’s stories, sometimes kidnapping or even eating unruly or unwary kids. The Wood Man (Nuhu’anh): A hairy bigfoot-like wild man of the forest who moves silently and rarely reveals himself to humans. Frequently he steals things or causes other minor mischief, and in some stories has been said to capture Ahtna children. Gguux (also spelled Gux, Ġu∙x, Gook, pronounced similar to gookh): Underwater monster that lurks in lakes and eats people. Monkey People (Cet’aeni or Cet’aenn, pronounced ket-ann-ee): Legendary humanoid creatures with tails who live in trees and caves, enemies of humans. Their name means “tailed ones.”

Ahtna Legends / Oral Traditions:

Ahtna Legends and Lore Article about an Ahtna storyteller, including a legend about the downfall of a greedy hunter. Alaska Native Knowledge Network Athabascan and Yupic stories about Raven. Native Alaskan Stories Eight Ahtna, Tlingit, and Eskimo legends presented by a Native Alaskan educational organization. Native Stories of Alaska and the Yukon Collection of legends and oral history from the Ahtna and other Athabaskan tribes.

Ahtna Religion:

Meeting of Frontiers Deals with the Ahtna Indians’ failed attempts to bring Orthodoxy to their country. Indigenous Religious Traditions Sacred Lands Projects – Prospects of a New Coal Mine in Chickaloon Village on Ahtna sacred lands.

Ahtna Tribal and Community Websites:

Ahtna, Inc Cooperative of seven Ahtna villages with information about their business ventures and the Ahtna Heritage Foundation. Athabascan Nation Chickaloon Village: Homepage of the Chickaloon Village Traditional Council, one of the Ahtna Native Villages of Alaska. Copper River Native Association Nonprofit organization advancing the cause of the Ahtna villages of Alaska. Ahtna Government Services Corporation AGSC provides comprehensive general construction; construction management; engineering; environmental engineering and remediation; professional and staffing services; and program management services. Athna Construction Homepage of Ahtna tribal business enterprises. Ahtna Engineering Services Ahtna possesses a diverse range of knowledge, experience, personnel, and resources to provide design, design-build, construction, environmental, and professional services. Ahtna Technical Services, Incorporated One of several subsidiary companies formed to provide long-term, stable revenues back to Ahtna, Incorporated and its shareholders. Ahtna Facility Services, Inc. (AFSI) The Ahtna Family of Companies – Ahtna, Inc. has ten operating subsidiaries. Subsidiaries are involved in government contracting, civil and vertical construction, pipeline maintenance, environmental remediation, surveying, facilities maintenance, administrative and janitorial services, food service contractors, tourism, forestry and gravel sales.

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