Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge


Mikhail Pananto with his grandchildren at Kaiettyn, Chukotka, 2001.

Photo courtesy of Patty Gray.

I stood there stunned by the beauty of my Motherland—Sebiania, the land of Evenia. How beautiful are the reindeer, the people surrounding me, this endless world!

– Anatolii Alekseev



Vladimir Etylin

The Chukchi are an ancient arctic people who live at the meeting point of two continents, Eurasia and North America. They refer to themselves as lyg’oravetl’a, which means “real people” or “people standing openly.” The present population is about 16,000. Continue Reading


Valentina Dedyk-Ivkavav

The Koryak people inhabit the upper Kamchatka peninsula and bordering lands to the north, with a present-day population of more than 9,000. As among the Chukchi, there is a division between coastal and reindeer people. Reindeer Koryak, the chavchyvav, traditionally engaged in nomadic reindeer herding. Coastal Koryak, or nymylu, led a settled way of life by the sea and rivers, where they fished and hunted sea mammals. Continue Reading


Anatolii Alekseev

The Even—formerly called the Lamu—are one of the “small peoples” of the Russian Far East. They live in small groups across a broad region that extends from the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) in the west to parts of the Chukchi and Koryak regions in the east. According to the 1989 census there were 17,000 Even in these territories. The Even language belongs to the Tungus branch of the Tungus-Manchurian languages. In our language, we call ourselves eben or evesil. Continue Reading

Yupik (Asiatic Eskimo)

Ludmila Ainana, Tatiana Achirgina-Arsiak, Tasian Tein

Tatiana Achirgina-Arsiak: Our people, one of the oldest on Earth, live from Greenland to Siberia and are divided into two large branches: the Inupiq (Inuit and Iñupiat) and Yupik. Asiatic Eskimos, who live in on the coast of the Chukotka Peninsula in northeastern Siberia, belong to the Yupik group. Scientists have traced their history more than two thousand years into the past. The Asiatic Eskimos have always engaged in sea mammal hunting. Formerly they lived along the entire Chukotka coast, but by the beginning of the 20th century they had concentrated in a few villages near Bering Strait. Today, the total population is about 1,700. Continue Reading