Cultural Isolation In Alaska

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At the time of the first incursions of the Russian colonists, it is believed that the Alaskan populations didn’t know much about the surrounding areas and cultures. The native population was not aware that there were ships capable of sailing across the seas, nor did they know about the shape of North America, or how its location related to the rest of the world. This cultural isolation proved both beneficial and catastrophic upon the European arrival. While it served as a bastion of cultural preservation and heritage salvage, it also opened the door to many abuses and intrusion from both the newly arrived Russians, and eventually by the white North American settlers. Around the time of the initial Russian contact with the Native Alaskan…show more content…
These were the most numerous among the Native when the first contact with the Europeans was made. Grouping divisions are based on language differences, as well as in survival methods and technological skills. The Inupiat and the Yupik, known as the real people, continue to hunt and gather in communities. They subsist on both sea and land resources. Even to this day their lives continue to evolve around the polar bear, caribou, fish, seal, whale, and walrus. The vast Alaskan land is the host to their communities, and the northernmost areas, along with the extreme climate, rather than being a barrier for survival, is a natural realm for birds, fish, mammals, and natural resources. These populations place a great value on bartering and family connections, both of which rely on respect and communication. Labor is divided by gender, and competitions and strength and resistance games, along with song duels, are part of traditional culture. Habitation also tends to be underground, which helps in trapping the cold air out of the premises. Historically, their tools and technology we highly sophisticated, using a variety of stone, wood, ivory and bone tools, mainly used for carving, drilling, sharpening, inscribing, and butchering. Lines, lances, and lines are still fundamental in the bowhead whale hunt. The value of trade increased enormously by the arrival of the Europeans, having…show more content…
They usually inhabit major river ways, and comprise of about 11 different linguistic groups. Athabascans are known to migrate seasonally, traveling in small groups in order to hunt, set traps, and fish. Their culture calls for the respect of all living things, sharing being the fundamental aspect of their subsistence. Hunters belong to a kin based network, and they are expected to follow traditional social practices even in contemporary societies. Traditionally the Athabascans lived in small hunting groups that moved throughout the territories they populated. Fish camps and villages served as the base camps, and depending on the season, as well as the local resources, different types of housing were used. In the Athabascan culture the matrilineal system is favored, in which children belong to the mother’s clan. Elders make decisions regarding the clan, covering all aspects of daily life, including trade, leadership, and marriage. Traditional Athabascan clothing is a reflection of the resources available to them. It was mostly made of caribou and moose hid. Boots and moccasins were essential parts of the wardrobe. The same can be said about tools and technology. Traditional tools were made of antlers, wood, bone, and
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