10 Things You Should Know About Alaska Natives


le 21/11/2014 à 07:08


More than 140,000 people have a unique relationship with the land known as the Last Frontier.

They are Alaska’s Indigenous Peoples, their ties to this place dating back to when Raven made the world and Crow brought daylight to the land.

The Alaska Native story is one of endurance – developing ways to survive and thrive in a challenging environment; overcoming enslavement and disease during the Russian and U.S. trade era; adapting to statehood; and fighting to restore rights and reestablish sovereignty.

“By 1800, the population of the Aleutian region and Kodiak had been reduced by about 80 percent due to Russian atrocities, war, disease, starvation and enslavement,” writes William L. Iġġiaġruk Hensley, former Alaska state legislator, longtime educator and advocate for Alaska Native rights, and author of “Fifty Miles from Tomorrow: A Memoir of Alaska and the Real People” (2009).

Today, Alaska’s Indigenous Peoples comprise roughly 24 percent of the state’s population. Many live in one of 229 federally recognized Alaska Native villages.

What do we know about Alaska Natives? To answer that question, we consulted Hensley; and Mike Williams Sr., chief of the Yupiit Nation, member of the Akiak Tribal Council, and board member of First Stewards, which is addressing climate change and sustainability issues.



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