Dena'ina Ełnena

Book cover with green mottled background, and an inset photo of the moon rising over a hillside in autumn color.

"Everything on earth has a spirit. They call it K'etniyi, means 'it's saying something' that's how we believed long ago. We believed that everything had a spirit and should be treated with respect. From a rock, water, mountains, animals, everything. This is what's missing today." -Nick Carltikoff, Sr.

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Dena'ina Ełnena, A Celebration is a story of the Dena'ina Athabascan people. It presents Dena'ina names that their ancestors placed across miles of the surrounding environment. This cultural atlas features traditional stories, essays, maps, photographs, and illustrations that demonstrate cultural ties to the land. It is presented based on the seasonal definitions used by the Dena'ina and rooted in a perspective that has unfolded through the unique use of the Dena'ina language.

The book's content and arrangement were developed through the guidance and recommendations from a local steering committee consisting of members from six of the communities represented here. All the people on the committee continue to live a traditional lifestyle, although not the same as our ancestors. They hunt, fish, camp, and share food gathered from the land. The perspective these committee members bring allowed this book to be presented and understandable to the Dena'ina people and respectful of how the ancestors might like to see their words, stories, and language represented.


  1. Dena'ina Qut'ana and the Ełnena: Dena'ina People and the Land
  2. Tinitun and Egh Veghuch'diłt'ayi: Trails and 'We Use It'
  3. Łitl'en Teh and Shan Teh: Spring Time and Summer Time
  4. Ełnen Galegga: Our Land on Paper
  5. Naqeli Teh and Hey Teh: Fall Time and Winter Time
  6. Ełnen Sukdu Qech' Niłegh Nuch'htulnek: Stories from the Land We Can Tell One Another

Publication Details

Editor: Karen E. Evanoff, Cultural Anthropologist for Lake Clark National Park and Preserve
1st Edition Publisher: National Park Service, 2010

Last updated: October 20, 2020

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