Dena'ina Ełnena, A Celebration

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By the people of Lime Village, Iliamna, Newhalen, Nondalton, Tyonek, and Pedro Bay. With contributions from Jim Kari, Angie Southwould, and John Branson
Edited by Karen E. Evanoff, NPS Cultural Anthropologist

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Detail of a place name map for the Chulitna Area of Lake Clark.
Detail of a place name map for the Chulitna Area of Lake Clark.

Dena'ina Ełnena, A Celebration

Dedication, Map of Languages, The Dena'ina Sound System and Alphabet, Introduction

ONE. Dena'ina Qut'ana and the Ełnena: Dena'ina People and the Land
How Places Were Named by Nicholia Carltikoff, Olga Balluta, Okzenia Delkittie
Yusdi Ghuyiq': Long Point, Dena'ina and Yupik Gather at Yusdi Ghuyiq by Albert Wassillie
Ch'iduchuq'a: Game Enters Mountain by Ruth Koktelash
Hutał Hnidenghi'iy: Flat Rock That is Embedded by Gabriel Trefon
Nughilqutnu Nudgeliłent: At the Falls on Nughilqutnu by Antone Evan
Traditional Leadership by Alex Trefon, Sr.
Essay: Dena'ina Language and Identity by Michelle Ravenmoon
Essay: Values and Knowing the Land by Pauline Hobson

TWO. Tinitun and Egh Veghuch'diłt'ayi: Trails and 'We Use It'
Łi Ta'a: Glacier Water by Antone Evan
K'uzhaghałen Qałnik'a: The Giant's Rock by Walter Johnson
Ełnen Bunkda: Mother of the Earth and Ełnen Tukdu: Father of the Earth by Shem Pete
Tus Tl'eghla Tusghiłk'et: Pass in Which Sedges Extend Through by Albert Wassillie
Eseni Dghitnu: Cottonwood Extends; Respecting Trapping and Hunting Grounds by Nicholi Balluta
Qeghnilen Area: Traveling to Fish and Hunt by Pete Bobby
Essay: On the Telequana Trail by Lary Hill
Chickalushen Tustes by Albert Wassillie
Tanilen Vetnu Tustes: Creek Flows into Water River Pass by Andrew Balluta
Essay: Dena'ina Trails: A Personal View by John Branson
Material Places on Stony River by Pete Bobby
Huten Vena Tustes: A Trail to Paint by Albert Wassillie
Traditional Backpacks by Antone Evan


Everything on earth has a spirit.They call it K'etniyi, means 'it's saying something' that's how we believed long ago. We believed that everything had a spirit and should be treated with respect. From a rock, water, mountains, animals, everything. This is what's missing today.
-Nick Carltikoff, Sr.

Ursula Graham of Lime Village with birch baskets, grandmother Nora Alexie in background, 1980.
Ursula Graham of Lime Village with birch baskets, grandmother Nora Alexie in background, 1980.

Priscilla Russell

THREE. Łitl'en Teh and Shan Teh: Spring Time and Summer Time
Łitl'en Teh: Spring Time
Life with the Seasons by Emma Alexie
Summer Boat Travel on the Upper Stony River by Pete Bobby
Tusnuk'elyasht: Iliamna Portage by Zenia Kolyaha
Quyushi Uqu Ch'el'ani: Beluga Hunting by Shem Pete
Łih Vena: White Fish Lake by Gilly Jacko
Bear Signs and Tracking Bears in the Spring Time by Albert Wassillie
The Story of the Bidarki by Rose Hedlund
Shan Teh: Summer Time
Underground Fish Cache by Ruth and Pete Koktelash
Chida Degguya "The Old Lady's Child" by Emma Alexie
Hunqet'unhtnu: He Takes His Time Creek by Rose Hedlund
K'uhda'i Yes Vanq'ashli: Moose Skin Boat by Nick Alexie
Essay: Potlach and Relationships between Communities by Donita Hensley
Natural Materials from the Land
Q'uł: Whetstones by Andrew Balluta
K'enq'ena Qayeh: Dentalia's Home by Vanga Bobby
K'enq'ena: Dentalia Bug Shells by Alex Trefon, Sr.

FOUR. Ełnen Galegga: Our Land on Paper
Hek'dichen Hdakaq' (Lime Village Area)
Qeghnilen (Canyon Area, Stony River)
Nan Qelah Tustes (Telaquana Trail)
Tanilen (Port Alsworth Area)
Ch'alitnu (Chulitna Area)
Nuvendaltun (Nondalton Area)
Nikugh (Nikabuna Area)
Nughil Hdakaq' and Nila Vena (Newhalen and Iliamna Lake Area)
Hduvunu Hkaytaghi'u (Pedro Bay Area)
Nuch'ak'dalitnu (Old Iliamna Area)
Ełnen Bunkda, Ełnen Tukda (Tyonek Area)
Dena'ina Geography by James Kari
Behind the Scenes: Lake Clark Native Place Name Database and Maps by Angie Southwould


Dena'ina Ełnena, A Celebration is a story of the Dena'ina people. These words and places touch our hearts and fulfill our spirits. This is a celebration of place from the past, from the present, and how we live today. It is also meant as a guide for future generations, so they too will celebrate ełnena.
-Karen E. Evanoff, editor

Les Wesberg's dog sled, hauling fire wood and fur near upper Chilikadrotna River, ca. 1937-38.
Les Wesberg's dog sled, hauling fire wood and fur near upper Chilikadrotna River, ca. 1937-38.

NPS Collection

FIVE. Naqeli Teh and Hey Teh: Fall Time and Winter Time
Naqeli Teh: Fall Time
Shtuka Shtunghiyuk: My Father Used to Hunt by Zenia Kolyaha
Caribou Fences by Antone Evan
Sheep Hunting and Traveling to Nondalton by Nora Alexie
Hunting Sheep and Traveling between the Swift River and the Stony River by Alexi Evan
Ts'ananiłghazitnu: Fall Fish by Albert Wassillie
How to Snare a Ground Squirrel by Ruth Koktelash
Snaring Qunsha on the Mountains by Mary Hobson
Hunting Blak Bears with in the Fall Time by Pete Bobby
Hey Teh: Winter Time
Building a Sled by Antone Evan
Nichił: Birchbark House by Vonga Bobby
K'qan qilchint: Built as a Beaver Lodge by Pete Koktelash
Building the Qenq'a: House by Pete Trefon, Sr.
Ch'aldi and Her Relatives by Jim Kari
Preparation and Traveling by Helen Dick

SIX. Ełnen Sukdu Qech' Niłegh Nuch'htulnek: Stories from the Land We Can Tell One Another
Only on Occasion Did We See White People by Vonga Bobby
Qeghnilen and Changes from the Old Days by Pete Koktelash
Essay: Camping, Traveling and Changes by Greg Anelon, Jr.
The First Boat Motor in Nondalton by Albert Wassillie
Moose and Caribou First coming to the Area by Alex Trefon
Essay: The Hills on the Telaquana Trail by Frank Hill

Acknowledgments, Photograph Captions and Credits, Related Sources, Bibliography Interviews and Oral Histories

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