Upper Tanana Ethnographic Study

Upper Tanana Ethnographic Overview and Assessment
by Terry L. Haynes and William E. Simeone

Tanacross People
Tanacross people with sledge and toboggan, circa 1919.

F.B. Drane
Courtesy of the University of AK

This overview of Alaska Native history and culture in the upper Tanana region in eastern interior Alaska focuses on the predominantly Northern Athabascan Indian villages of Dot Lake, Healy Lake, Northway, Tanacross, and Tetlin.

Based on existing ethnographic and historical sources, along with some data collected during earlier periods of fieldwork, this study describes upper Tanana Athabascan culture prior to sustained western contact at the beginning of the 20th century and examines the effects of socioeconomic and cultural changes on traditional lifeways that occurred during the 20th century.

In addition, the study examines the longstanding relationships of the upper Tanana Indians to the neighboring Ahtna Athabascans and to lands in and near to the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, primarily in the northern part of the Copper River Basin. This overview illustrates the resiliency of the upper Tanana people in the face of ongoing socioeconomic and cultural changes during the 20th century.

Upper Tanana Ethnographic Overview and Assessment (AK Dept Fish & Game website, Technical Paper No. 325, 9 MB)

Last updated: August 2, 2021

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Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve
PO Box 439
Mile 106.8 Richardson Highway

Copper Center , AK 99573


907 822-5234

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