Alaska Native Heritage at Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve

Three Alaska Native men dressed in hats and button-down shirts stand beside a river.
Prospecting Trip in Alaska, 1883 Charlie, chief of what is known as Charlie's Band; 1600 miles up the Yukon River Charles Farciot.

Edward Schieffelin

"If you are a subsistence person, you have to utilize what is available around you…Subsistence means your ability to survive in this harsh climate with what you've got." - Issac Juneby, Han elder from Eagle Village, 2010

For thousands of years Alaska's indigenous people traveled extensively over the Upper Yukon River region and surrounding uplands living through their hunting, fishing, and gathering activities. These ancestors of the Han Athabascans eventually settled in the area. Within Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, Alaska Natives continue to maintain traditional connections to the land through their subsistence activities.

Today’s local preserve users are busy all year round, with nature's bounty providing sustenance for families living in the surrounding areas. Both Alaska Natives and local rural users rely on fish and wildlife including moose, caribou, lynx, marten, and wolf, as well as and other wild resources. Living so far from major population centers makes these seasonal harvests important not only to put food on the table but also as a means of maintaining a relationship with the land and traditional ways.
Learn more about Alaska Native experiences and Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve through these resources:

Visit the park website at: Yukon - Charley Rivers National Preserve (U.S. National Park Service) (

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    Last updated: January 16, 2024