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General Works on Athabaskan Languages

Krauss, Michael E. 1980. Alaska Native Languages: Past, Present, and Future. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center, Research Paper Number 4. 110 pp. [Written for the general reader and for undergraduate courses; surveys the distribution and relationships of Native languages, their history since European contact, development of literacy and education in them, their present status and possible futures. Highly recommended. ]

Krauss, Michael E. 1982. Native Peoples and Languages of Alaska. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center. [Full-color wall map with populations, territories, and language status.]

Krauss, Michael E. and Mary Jane McGary. 1980. Alaska Native Languages: A Bibliographical Catalogue. Part One: Indian Languages. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center, Research Paper Number 3. 455 pp. [Lists and describes in detail virtually all published and unpublished written materials on Alaskan Indian languages through 1980, including educational publications.]

Scollon, Ron and Suzanne Scollon. 1979. Interethnic Communication. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center. [Discussion for the general reader of problems and solutions, especially in Athabaskan-White communication.]

Thompson, Chad, Melissa Axelrod, and Eliza Jones. 1983. Koyukon Language Scope and Sequence (265 pp.); Koyukon Language Curriculum Student Workbook (158 pp.); Koyukon Language Curriculum Lesson Plans (89 pp.). Nenana: Yukon-Koyukuk School District. [First of a series of coordinated materials presenting the teaching of Koyukon Athabaskan as a second language for different grade levels. The Scope and Sequence describes much of the grammar of Koyukon in terms understandable to the informed general reader. This work and similar materials now being developed should serve as models for curriculum development in other Alaskan Athabaskan languages as well.]

Works on Athabaskan Culture

Frank, Ellen. 1983. K'okhethdeno De'on: Moving Around in the Old Days. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center. 40 pp. [Traditional subsistence cycle of the Minto Tanana people; bilingual in Tanana and English, with explanation of Tanana spelling system.]

Helm, June, editor. 1981. Subarctic. Volume 6, Handbook of North American Indians. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution. 853 pp. [An indispensable reference on Alaskan and Canadian Athabaskans and other American Indian groups, including articles on language, prehistory, and various aspects of culture. Every Alaskan school should have a copy of this work.]

Kari, James, Priscilla Russell Kari, and Jane McGary. 1982. Dena'ina Elnena: Tanaina Country. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center. 111 pp. [Geography and natural history of the Tanaina Athabaskan territory around Cook Inlet, concentrating on Native use of resources; in English with large Tanaina glossary and place-name lists.]

MacAlpine, Donna. 1980. A Woman of Anvik. McGrath: Iditarod Area School District. 130 pp. [History, language, and culture of the Deg Hit'an (Ingalik) Athabaskans, prepared for school use.]

Nelson, Richard K. 1973. Hunters of the Northern Forest: Designs for Survival among the Alaskan Kutchin. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 339 pp. [A lively and fascinating account of modern Athabaskan culture and subsistence techniques in northeastern Alaska.]

Nelson, Richard K. 1983. The Athabaskans: People of the Boreal Forest. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Museum. 67 pp. [Introductory book for the general reader and high school student, with many illustrations; study guide available.]

Nelson, Richard K. 1983. Make Prayers to the Raven: A Koyukon View of the Northern Forest. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [A detailed, excellent work on the modern culture of the Koyukon Athabaskans, done in collaboration with many local experts.]

Simeone, William E. 1982. A History of Alaskan Athapaskans. Anchorage: Alaska Historical Commission. 133 pp. [A brief but useful general survey of important events and changes among Alaskan Athabaskans since European contact.]

VanStone, James W. 1974. Athapaskan Adaptations: Hunters and Fishermen of the Subarctic Forests. Arlington Heights, Ill.: AHM Publishing. 145 pp. [Surveys the traditional cultures of Alaskan and Canadian Athabaskan peoples, with some comments on modern developments. A good introductory text.]


Solomon, Madeline and Eliza Jones. 1978. Koyukon Athabaskan Dance Songs. Anchorage: National Bilingual Materials Development Center. 45 pp. [19 songs with musical transcriptions and background information.]


Dauenhauer, Richard. 1976. Riddle and Poetry Handbook. Anchorage. Alaska Native Education Board. [General discussions of riddles and poetry with examples from world traditions; written for teachers. Out of print but should be made more generally available.]

Henry, Chief. 1976. K'ooltsaah Ts'in'. Koyukon Riddles. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center. 65 pp. [28 Koyukon riddles with translations and introduction.]

Jette, Jules. 1913. "Riddles of the Ten'a Indians." Anthropos 8:181-201. [110 Koyukon riddles with translations and notes; discussion of Koyukon riddling.]

Jones, Eliza. March 1983. Interview with Karen McPherson for KUAC-FM series Chinook. Audio cassette available from University of Alaska Fairbanks, Archives-Oral History Project. [Discussion of Koyukon riddles.]

Wassillie, Albert, Sr. 1980. K'ich'igi: Dena'ina Riddles. Anchorage: National Bilingual Materials Development Center. [36 Tanaina riddles with translations.]

Personal Narratives

Carlo, Poldine. n.d. Nulato, an Indian Life on the Yukon. Fairbanks. [The autobiography of a Koyukon woman.]

Henry, Chief. 1979. Chief Henry Yugh Noholnigee: The Stories Chief Henry Told. Transcribed and edited by Eliza Jones. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center. [Autobiographical accounts in Koyukon and English, with introduction.]

Herbert, Belle. 1982. Shandaa: Iii My Lifetime. Edited by Bill Pfisterer, transcribed and translated by Katherine Peter. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center. 210 pp. [Autobiographical, cultural, and historical narratives by Alaska's then-oldest resident, in Gwich'in and English, with introduction and notes.]

Peter, Katherine. 1981. Neets'aii Gwiindaii: Living in the Chandalar Country. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center. 147 pp. [Autobiography of life in the 1940s, composed in writing, with English translation, introduction.]

Peter, Katherine, editor. 1979. Elders Speak. Anchorage: National Bilingual Materials Development Center. [Personal narratives and statements by four Gwich'in elders, with English translations.]

Yukon-Koyukuk School District (publishers). Biography Series (separate volumes): Henry Beatus Sr., Oscar Nictune, Joe Beetus, Moses Henzie, Frank Kobuk, Madeline Solomon, Roger Dayton, Edwin Simon, John Honea, Edgar Kallands, Josephine Roberts. [Biographies of important local personages, from interviews with them.]

Traditional Stories

Attla, Catherine. 1983. Sitsiy Yugh NoholnikTs'in': As My Grandfather Told It. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center and Yukon-Koyukuk School District. 255 pp. [Koyukon stories told in full traditional style, with facing English translations and numerous notes.]

Billum, John and Mildred Buck. 1979. Atna' Yenida'a: Ahtna Stories. Anchorage: National Bilingual Materials Development Center. 103 pp. [Traditional Ahtna stories with English translations, told for school use.]

Chapman, John W. and James Kari, eds. 1981. Athabaskan Stories from Anvik. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center. 186 pp. [Traditional stories recorded around the turn of the century and recently revised with modern speakers of Deg Hit'an (Ingalik), with interlinear and free English translations.]

Deaphon, Deacon and Betty Petruska. 1980. Nikolai Hwch'ihwzoya'. Anchorage: National Bilingual Materials Development Center. 84 pp. [Traditional stories from the Upper Kuskokwim Athabaskan people, with English translations.]

Fredson, John and Edward Sapir. 1982. John Fredson Edward Sapir Haa Googwandak: Stories told by John Fredson to Edward Sapir. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center. 113 pp. [Gwich'in stories and autobiographical and cultural accounts recorded in 1923, with English translations, introduction, biography of Fredson.]

Krauss, Michael E., editor. 1982. In Honor of Eyak: The Art of Anna Nelson Harry. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center. 157 pp. [Traditional stories, history, and oratory of the Eyak people, related to the Athabaskans, with English translations and extensive introduction and notes.]

Paul, Gaither and Ron Seollon. 1980. Stories, for My Grandchildren. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center. [Traditional historical accounts and stories in Tanacross and English.]

Ridley, Ruth. 1983. Eagle Han Huch'inn Hodok. Han Athabaskan Stories from Eagle. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center. 37 pp. [Short composed stories for children in Han and English.]

Tansy, Jake and Louise Tansy Mayo. 1982. Indian Stories: Hwtsaay Hwt'aene Yenida'a. Anchorage: Materials Development Center. 89 pp. [Traditional Ahtna stories with English translations.]

Tenenbaum, Joan M., editor. 1976. Dena'ina Sukdu'a. Four volumes. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center. [Traditional stories of the Tanaina people of Nondalton, with interlinear and free English translations, introduction.]

Wassillie, Albert. 1980. Nuvendaltun Ht'ana Sukdu'a. Nondalton People's Stories. Anchorage: National Bilingual Materials Development Center. 50 pp. [Tanaina stories with English translations.]


Available from the Alaska State Film Library:

Profiles of Alaskans series: "Catherine Attla"; "Emmitt Peters"; "Thelma Saunders"

5th Annual BMEC: "Language Varieties: English Dialects and their Uses" (Department of Education, Dr. Orlando Taylor)

Available from the Yukon-Koyrrkuk School District, Nenana:

"Koyukon Regional Profiles"; "Huteetj: Koyukon Potlatch"

Available from the Alaska Native Language Center:

Talking Alaska series: "The Priceless Heritage of Alaska's Native Languages" (two videotapes); "Koyukon Athabaskan"; "Interethnic Communication"; "Dena'ina Athabaskan"; "Gwich'in Athabaskan"



Alaska Historical Commission
Old City Hall
524 W. 5th Avenue, Suite 207
Anchorage, AK 99501
(Publications, conferences)

Alaska Native Language Center
302 Chapman
University of Alaska
Fairbanks, AK 99701
(Publications, consultation)

Alaska Pacific University Press
Alaska Pacific University
Anchorage, AK 99504

Alaska State Film Library
650 International Airport Road
Anchorage, AK 99502

Alaska State Library
Pouch G
Juneau, AK 99811

Alaska State Museum
Pouch FM
Juneau, AK 99811
(Traveling media kits, publications, traveling photographic exhibits)

Central Alaska Curriculum Consortium
314 Chapman
University of Alaska
Fairbanks, AK 99701
(Bibliographies, instructional support materials)

College of Human and Rural Development
University of Alaska
Fairbanks, AK 99701
(Consultation, instruction)

Fairbanks Native Association
Johnson-0'Malley Program
310-1/2 First Avenue
Fairbanks, AK 99701

Fairbanks North Star Borough School District
Indian Education Program
Box 1250
Fairbanks, AK 99707

Institute of Alaska Native Arts
P.O. Box 80583
Fairbanks, AK 99708

Materials Development Center
Rural Education, University of Alaska
2223 Spenard Road
Anchorage, AK 99503

University of Alaska Library, Archives
Oral History Project
Rasmuson Library
University of Alaska
Fairbanks, AK 99701
(Especially the KUAC Radio Chinook series.)

University of Alaska Museum
University of Alaska
Fairbanks, AK 99701
(Tours, publications, traveling photographic exhibits)

Yukon-Koyukuk School District
Media Center
P.O. Box 309
Nenana, AK 99760
(Han Zaadlitl'ee collection on Athabaskan languages and culture)



Alaska Gateway School District

Lake and Peninsula School District

Box 226

Box 498

Tok, AK 99780

King Salmon, AK 99613

(907) 883-5151

(907) 246-4280

Anchorage School District

Nenana City Schools

Pouch 6-614

Box 10

Anchorage, AK 99502

Nenana, AK 99760

(907) 333-9561

(907) 832-5456

Copper River School District

Tanana City Schools

Box 108

Box 89

Glennallen, AK 99588

Tanana, AK 99777

(907) 822-3234

(907) 366-7203

Fairbanks North Star Borough School District

Yukon Flats School District

Box 1250

Box 159

Fairbanks, AK 99701

Fort Yukon, AK 99740

(907) 452-2000

(907) 662-2515

Galena City Schools

Yukon-Koyukuk School District

Box 299

Box 309

Galena, AK 99741

Nenana, AK 99760

(907) 832-5594

Iditarod Area School District

Box 105

McGrath, AK 99627

(907) 524-3599

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

Box 1200

Soldotna, AK 99669

(907) 262-5846


State of Alaska
Bilingual Education Enrollments 1981-1982


Number of Students, K-l2

Yup'ik Eskimo


Inupiaq Eskimo




Koyukon Athabaskan




Gwich'in (Kutchin) Athabaskan










St. Lawrence Island (Siberian) Yupik


Sugpiaq (Alutiiq)


Dena'ina (Tanaina) Athabaskan




Athabaskan (language not identified)


Upper Tanana Athabaskan




Deg Hit'an (Ingalik) Athabaskan


Ahtna Athabaskan


Tanacross Athabaskan






*Student enrollments are derived from School District Reports provided to the Department of Education each school year. These figures are based on reports from June 1982.


Bilingual/Bicultural Education Programs
State of Alaska, 1981-1982
Distribution of Students by School District

  Speakers Limited/Non-  
Language A, B, C Speakers D, E Total
Yup'ik Eskimo      
Lower Kuskokwim I ,010 676 1,686
Lower Yukon 174 1,033 1,207
Southwest Region 250 257 507
Kuspuk 5 214 219
St. Mary's Public 42 46 88
Dillingham City 30 48 78
Lake & Peninsula 4 57 61
Bering Strait 0 31 31
Anchorage 7 19 26
Iditarod Area 0 18 18
Fairbanks 2 0 2
Total 1,524 (39%) 2,399 (61%) 3,923
Inupiaq Eskimo      
Northwest Arctic 141 1,273 1,414
North Slope Borough 474 418 901
BeringStrait 51 377 428
Nome City Schools 7 342 349
Fairbanks 2 45 47
Anchorage   29 29
Iditarod Area   14 14
Alaska Gateway   11 11
DillinghamCity   7 7
Total 685 (22%) 2,516 (78%) 3,200
Gwich'in (Kutchin) Athabaskan      
Yukon Flats 47 138 185
Fairbanks   20 20
Anchorage   20 20
Northwest Arctic   2 2
Total 47 (21%) 180 (79%) 227
St. Lawrence Island (Siberian) Yupik      
Bering Strait 86 5 91
Nome City Schools 24 20 44
Total 110 (82%) 25 (18%) 135
Aleutian Region 10 10 20
Pribilof Islands   99 99
Unalaska   26 26
Total 10 (7%) 135 (93%) 145
Sugpiaq (Alutiiq)      
Kenai Pen. Bor. 4 60 64
Lake & Peninsula   56 56
Kodiak Island Bor.   3 3
Total 4 (3%) 119 (97%) 123
Dena'ina (Tanaina) Athabaskan      
Kenai Peninsula Bor.   68 68
Lake & Peninsula   32 32
Iditarod Area 7 4 11
Total 7 (6%) 104 (94%) 111
Anchorage 196 96 292
Fairbanks North Star 39 14 53
Juneau City & Bor. 5 2 7
Kodiak Island Bor. 4 2 6
Mat-Su Bor. 4 2 6
Kenai Pen. Bor. 3 1 4
Nome City Schools 3   3
Alaska Gateway 3   3
Sitka Bor. Schools 2   2
Total 259 (69%) 117 (31%) 376
Anchorage 168 40 208
Fairbanks North Star 26 1 27
Juneau City & Bor. 2   2
Kodiak Island Bor. 8   8
Mat-Su Bor. 1 2 3
Kenai Pen. Bor. 6   6
Nome City Schools 2   2
Nenana City Schools I   1
Total 217 (83%) 43 (17%) 260
Anchorage 74 35 109
Kodiak Island Bor. 44 8 52
Sitka Bor. Schools 23   23
Juneau City & Bor. 9 5 14
Fairbanks North Star 1 6 7
Kenai Pen. Bor. 3   3
Nome City Schools   2 2
NcnanaCity Schools 1   1
Total 155 (74%) 56 (26%) 211
Kenai Pen. Bor. 191 (100%) 0 (0%) 191
Anchorage 115 10 191
Fairbanks North Star 15   15
Sitka Bor. Schools 7   7
Kodiak Island Bor. 3 3  
Kenai Pen. Bor.   2 2
Juneau City & Bor.   1 1
Mat-Su Bor. 1   1
Total 141 (92%) 13 (8%) 154
Anchorage 19 0 19
Nome Public Schools 11 3 14
Juneau City & Bor. 18   18
Kenai Pen. Bor. 4   4
Kodiak Island Bor. 3   3
Fairbanks North Star 1 1 2
Sitka Bor. Schools 2   2
Total 58 (94%) 4 (6%) 62
Anchorage 18   18
Fairbanks North Star 4 3 7
Kenai Pen. Bor. 1   1
Total 23 (88%) 3 (12%) 26