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Ministry of education of the Ukraine

 

Section: Area stadies

 

Topic: Alaska

 

Done by Lena Kozachenok

 

201 gr.

 

Kyev 1998

 

FROM THE LAND CALLED BERINGIA

 

Origins of Alaska’s Native Groups

 

No one knows exactly when people first found the land that would be

called Alaska.

 

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

Coast Indians.

 

While all four groups shared certain basic similarities--all hunted,

fished and gathered food--they developed distinctive cultures and sets

of skills.

 

The Eskimos:

 

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!

 

The Athabascans:

 

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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