Online Junior Ranger: Camp 3

You arrived at Camp 3! Yippee! Find this camp on your mountain and complete your next three activities.

Map of traditional Alaska Native lands encompassed by boundaries of Denali National Park and Preserve
Map of traditional Alaska Native lands encompassed within the boundaries of Denali National Park and Preserve.

NPS Photo

Culture and Heritage of Denali

Alaska Natives have called Denali home for thousands of years. Denali National Park and Preserve encompasses the traditional lands of five Alaska Native groups. These are the Ahtna, Dena’ina, Koyukon, Upper Kuskokwim, and Tanana peoples, each with distinct languages and cultural traditions. They are part of the much larger Athabascan or Dene language group.

Many Alaska Natives continue to live on traditional lands and practice cultural traditions. You probably live on the traditional lands of Native peoples, too.
Follow this link to visit the Native Land website and explore an interactive world map of Native territories, treaties, and languages.

1) Do you live on traditional lands? Write the name of at least one Native group from your area next to Camp 3 on your mountain.

Alaska Native Chief Mitch Demientieff of Nenana tells the Legend of Denali at the Eielson Visitor Center. Denali stands tall and proud in the background.
The late Chief Mitch Demientieff of Nenana tells the Legend of Denali at the Eielson Visitor Center in 2008. Denali is snow-capped in the background.

NPS Photo / Kent Miller


Many Alaska Native elders practice oral tradition. Oral tradition is a way of sharing culture, history, and memories across generations through stories. Stories often feature wildlife such as bears, ravens, and salmon.

Ask an older relative to tell you a story passed down from parents or grandparents. You are now part of your family's oral tradition!

Click below to hear the late Chief Mitch Demientieff of Nenana tell the Legend of Denali. As you listen or read the transcript, pay close attention to connections between people, animals, and the natural environment.
An Alaska Native woman in Ambler, near Kobuk Valley National Park, teaches a young girl how to sew caribou skin mukluks.
An Alaska Native woman teaches a young girl how to sew mukluk boots from caribou skin.

NPS Photo / Robert Belous

Traditional Clothing

The clothes we wear can tell stories, too. Many Alaska Natives make and wear special, traditional clothing. Traditional clothing may be stitched from moose or caribou hide, trimmed with lynx or beaver fur, or beaded by a loved one. Unique designs and patterns express culture, identity, and art. Traditional clothing reminds wearers of their heritage and home.

2) Do you have a clothing item that tells a story or reminds you of a special person or place? Draw that clothing item next to Camp 3.

Alaskan subsistence users pick blueberries, harvest salmon, and hunt moose.
Subsistence activities may look like hunting, fishing, trapping, or picking blueberries.

NPS Photos


Imagine living in a village many generations old, traveling by trails and rivers instead of roads, and finding food in nature. This is what leading a subsistence lifestyle in Alaska is like! Subsistence is the traditional use of wild and renewable resources for food, fuel, shelter, clothing, tools, art, and transportation. Many Alaska Natives and rural Alaskans continue to hunt, trap, fish, and harvest plants for subsistence.

3) What food have you eaten or would you like to eat from the land? Write your answer next to Camp 3.

An archeologist sketches an artifact on graph paper.
An archeologist at Denali sketches an artifact on graph paper.

NPS Photo

Ancient Ancestors

Archeologists are scientists who study and learn about early humans from the clues they left behind, like tools used to hunt, cook, and make clothing. Archeologists in Denali have found human tools dating back 12,600 years. This means that people may have lived here alongside woolly mammoths! What could an archeologist in the future learn from the tools you use every day?

You have explored some of the rich cultures and traditions of the Denali area. We cannot possibly represent all Dene peoples of past and present! With guidance from Alaska Native communities, we will continue to learn more and improve our lessons and activities for future Online Junior Rangers.

Camps along the West Buttress mountaineering route to the summit of Denali.
Click on Camp 4 to climb onward!

NPS Photo

Base Camp Camp 1 Camp 2 Camp 4

Learn More, Climb Higher

(Optional) To take a detour and learn more about the cultures and heritage of Denali, please visit:

Click on Camp 4 using the interactive image map of Denali to climb onward! ⇒


Return home or proceed to next camp.

Last updated: February 1, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 9
Denali Park, AK 99755


907 683-9532
A ranger is available 9 am to 4 pm daily (except on major holidays). If you reach the voicemail, please leave a message and we'll call you back as soon as we finish with the previous caller.

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