Alaska Native Communities and Alaska Tribes by Regions Index
The Eskimo and Aleut peoples occupy the northern North American coastline and nearby islands from Prince William Sound in south central Alaska westward and northward in Alaska, across the Bering Sea to St. Lawrence Island and eastern Siberia, and around the continental Arctic coast eastward across Canada to Quebec, Labrador, and on to Greenland.
With the exception of the southernmost areas in Alaska, this region is icebound for nine to ten months of the year, and in most areas, treeless tundra predominates in the interior.
Alaska's Native people are divided into over 200 villages in five regions. All are federally recognized by the US Government except five tlingit villages who were left out of the Alaska native Claims settlement. Those are Haines, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Wrangell and Tenakee.
Alaskan Eskimo groups were subdivided into territorial groups, or "societies," which at the local level comprised a number of smaller associations of extended family groups, or bands. The location and composition of modern villages and communities often reflect these traditional territorial associations, although the history of interaction with commercial whalers, traders, missionaries, and government schoolteachers is also a factor.
There are eleven linguistic groups of Athabascans in Alaska. Athabascan people have traditionally lived along five major river ways: the Yukon, the Tanana, the Susitna, the Kuskokwim, and the Copper river drainages.
The Inupiaq and the St. Lawrence Island Yupik People, or “Real People,” are still hunting and gathering societies. They continue to subsist on the land and sea of north and northwest Alaska. Their lives continue to evolve around the whale, walrus, seal, polar bear, caribou and fish.
The Aleut and Alutiiq peoples are south and southwest Alaska. The Aleut and Alutiiq cultures were heavily influenced by the Russians, beginning in the 18th century. The Orthodox Church is prominent in every village, Russian dishes are made using local subsistence food, and Russian words are part of common vocabulary although two languages, Unangax and Sugcestun, are the indigenous languages. The territory of the Aleut and Alutiiq stretches from Prince William Sound to the end of the Aleutian Islands. There are also over 300 Aleuts in Nikolskoye on Bering Island, Russia.
Stretching like a rocky necklace from Asia to North America, the Aleutian Islands and the nearby Alaska Peninsula are the home of the Unangan,"the original people." The term "Aleut" was introduced by Russians and comes originally from the Koryak or Chukchi languages of Siberia. It is believed that the Aleut were divided into nine named subdivisions.
The Eyak, Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian share a common and similar Northwest Coast Culture with important differences in language and clan system. Anthropologists use the term "Northwest Coast Culture" to define the Eyak, Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures, as well as that of other peoples indigenous to the Pacific coast, extending as far as northern Oregon. The Eyak, Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian have a complex social system consisting of moieties, phratries and clans. Eyak, Tlingit and Haida divide themselves into moieties, while the Tsimshian divide into phratries. Although these four groups are neighbors, their spoken languages are not mutually intelligible.