Ministry of education of the Ukraine
Section: Area stadies
Done by Lena Kozachenok
FROM THE LAND CALLED BERINGIA
Origins of Alaska’s Native Groups
No one knows exactly when people first found the land that would be
Some anthropologists believe that people migrated from Asia to North
America as long as 40,000 years ago. Others argue it was as recent as
15,000 years ago.
Whenever, the consensus is that they came from Asia by way of a northern
land bridge that once connected Siberia and Alaska.
That land bridge, now recalled as Beringia, was the first gateway to
Alaska. But these first visitors were hardly tourists intent on
exploring new worlds. Rather they were simply pursuing their subsistence
way of life as they followed great herds of grazing mammals across the
grassy tundra and gentle steppes of Beringia.
They came sporadically through many millennia.. in waves of different
ethnic backgrounds/generations of people and animals..hunters and
hunted. As the Ice Age drew to an end and the seas claimed the land,
these people moved to higher and drier places--the land that, as the
continents drifted apart, would become Alaska.
Some groups settled in the Arctic. Others traversed the mountain passes
to other parts of Alaska. While still others migrated through Alaska,
continuing on to distant lands--perhaps as far as South America!
Those who made Alaska their permanent home make up the state’s four
major anthropological group: Eskimos, Aleuts, Athabascans, and Northwest
While all four groups shared certain basic similarities--all hunted,
fished and gathered food--they developed distinctive cultures and sets
Flexible Residents of the Arctic
The Eskimos were primarily a coastal people, setting along the shores of
the Arctic and Bering seas.
For millennia they lived a simple, subsistence life--much as they still
do today--by harvesting the fish and mammals of the seas, the fruits and
game of the land. Somehow they learned how to thrive despite the
demanding conditions of the Arcitc.
Their sense of direction was keen, almost uncanny. Traveling in a
straight line, sometimes through snowstorms and whiteouts, they found
their way around the mostly featureless terrain by noting wind
direction, the position of the stars, the shape and size of a snowdrift.
And they were resourceful. In a land where the summer sun stays at
eye-level for weeks on end, never setting below the horizon, the Eskimos
fashioned the first sun-visor--which also doubled as a snowmask to
protect their eyes from the wind-driven snow!
Nomads of the Interior
Like the Eskimos, the Athabascans were skillful hunters, but they
depended more on large land mammals for their subsistence--tracking
moose and migrating caribou.
When it came to fishing, the Athabascans were absolutely ingenious,
snaring fish with hooks, lures, traps and nets that are the fascination
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