Ethnography

The park’s ethnography staff scientifically document and describe cultural customs relevant to Lake Clark, and build strong relationships between the park, local communities, and remote park residents. Ongoing projects have provided knowledge and context that helps park managers protect culturally important resources and have provided opportunities for collaboration with Dena’ina communities.

 
Łi Ta’a: Glacier Water by Antone Evan
A poem in the traditional Dena'ina language about glacial water. Both versions of this poem can be found in the Respect The Land, It's a Part of Us pdf below on page 11. Glacier water poem translation in English. Both versions of this poem can be found in the Respect The Land, It's a Part of Us pdf below on page 11.
"Łi Ta’a" in Dena'ina
'Glacier Water' in English translation



 

Dena'ina Ties to the Chulitna River and Sixmile Lake Basins

Park staff have worked with Portland State University researchers to conduct a Traditional Use Study of the Chulitna River-Sixmile Lake cultural landscape, which is important to present-day local Dena’ina people.

For the past 100 years, the people of Nondalton Village have largely derived their subsistence fish, game, and water fowl from the Chulitna River and Sixmile Lake drainages. Archeological sites in the nearby Kijik (Qizhjeh) National Historic Landmark and Archeological District document sites associated with at least 1,000 years of Dena’ina history. This Traditional Use Study has been undertaken to document the entire array of historic and contemporary resources of cultural significance to the Dena’ina in the Chulitna drainage and Sixmile Lake area, including the Tazimina River and the upper Newhalen River.

A Traditional Use Study produces information that park managers can use to protect cultural resources that are of national, state, and local importance. These documents also benefit the public by compiling information on the cultural heritage of national park lands, as well as guiding National Park Service staff in the development of public educational opportunities.

The results from this study will aid in consulting and planning with the State of Alaska, Nondalton Tribal Council, Kijik Corporation, and other interested tribes.

"RESPECT the land.
And RESPECT the water. The land, it’s like part of us.

You need to treat it right.
You don’t just kill animals.
You only kill what you need and show your RESPECT.

You don’t even tease a moose. We have a lot of stories about that:
kids teased a moose and the game all went away.

[It’s all about] RESPECT.

Thousands of caribou used to come here...
they stopped because people mistreated them...

Animals, you have to take care of them. If you don’t treat them right, they will go away from you.
They give themselves to you [willingly], but they watch.
They watch how they are treated, and if you don’t treat them right they will go."

-Gladys Evanoff, in "Respect the Land, It's Like Part of Us"


 
 


The Kvichak Watershed Subsistence Salmon Fishery Ethnographic Study

Conducted by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, the Bristol Bay Native Association, and the National Park Service, this study documented the fishing strategies of four families within the Lake Clark National Park and Preserve's Resident Zone Communities.

The communities shared information about the environmental and economic circumstances that factor into their subsistence. Also, the significance of salmon to their cultural values, social obligations, and commitments to community and culture.


"...it's really only in the last fifteen years since I've been married, we do it as a couple and with our children. We're all involved in the whole process. We all go get berries together, we all go get fish together, we all go get meat together. You know, it's just part of the family rituals."
-Michelle Davis, in the Kvichak Watershed Ethnographic Study


 
sockeye salmon hanging on a fish rack

Kvichak Subsistence Ethnographic Study

How families in Iliamna, Newhalen, Nondalton, and Port Alsworth of Bristol Bay's Kvichak District make decisions about subsistence fishing,

three people around a map

Ethnography Research Projects

Cultural anthropologists and historians identify, document, and interpret ethnographic resources and so much more.

 

Last updated: January 9, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 227
Port Alsworth, AK 99653

Phone:

(907) 644-3626

Contact Us