Alaska Natives

Alaska Natives (also known as Alaskan Natives, Native Alaskans, Indigenous Alaskans, Aboriginal Alaskans or First Alaskans) are the indigenous peoples of Alaska and include Iñupiat, Yupik, Aleut, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, and a number of Northern Athabaskan cultures. They are often defined by their language groups. Many Alaska Natives are enrolled in federally recognized Alaska Native tribal entities, who in turn belong to 13 Alaska Native Regional Corporations, who administer land and financial claims.

Alaska Natives
Alaska Native dancer performing in Fairbanks
Total population
≈106,660 (2006)[1]
Regions with significant populations
 United States of America ( Alaska)
English, Russian (historically and spoken by some), Haida, Tsimshianic languages, Eskimo–Aleut languages (Inupiaq, Central Alaskan Yup'ik, Alutiiq, Aleut), Chinook Jargon, Na-Dené languages (Northern Athabaskan, Eyak, Tlingit), others
Shamanism (largely ex), Alaska Native religion, Christianity (Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxy, American Orthodox Church and Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, Roman Catholicism), Bahá'í
Related ethnic groups
Native Americans, First Nations, Inuit
Aleut islander (19th Century)

Ancestors of Native Alaskans or Alaska Natives migrated into the area thousands of years ago, in at least two different waves. Some are descendants of the third wave of migration, in which people settled across the northern part of North America. They never migrated to southern areas. For this reason, genetic studies show they are not closely related to native peoples in South America. Alaska Natives came from Asia. Anthropologists have stated that their journey from Asia to Alaska was made possible through the Bering land bridge or by traveling through the sea.[2] Throughout the Arctic and the circumpolar north, the ancestors of Alaska Natives established varying indigenous, complex cultures that have succeeded each other over time. They developed sophisticated ways to deal with the challenging climate and environment. Historic groups have been defined by their languages, which belong to several major language families. Today, Alaska Natives or Native Alaskans constitute more than 20% of the population of Alaska.[3]

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