Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge


Gwich'in Athabascan hunters Jerrald John, McGarrett John, and Rocky John look for moose along the Chandalar River, 1997.

Photo © Roy Corral.

In both the seen and unseen worlds all things have spirits and everything is connected. This holistic world view is implicitly expressed in Den’a ceremonies.


The Athabascan people of Alaska call themselves Den’a (“the people”). They speak eleven different languages, and the lands they call home range north to the Brooks Range, east to the Canadian border, south to Cook Inlet, and west as far as the Nulato Hills. This expanse of territory is covered with low hills and flat lands, broken by the Alaska Range and shaped by extensive waterways including the Tanana, Kuskokwim, and Yukon rivers. Continue Reading