The Athabascan Indians traditionally lived in Interior Alaska from the Brooks Mountain Range in the north to the Kenai Peninsula in the south. They settled along the Yukon, Tanana, Susitna, Kuskokwim and Copper rivers. They were nomadic, traveling to fish, hunt and trap. This Athabascan village we visited is on the confluence of the Chena and Tanana rivers. The image above is of a typical log cabin with sod roof and an adjoining cache cabin for storing food. The sod roof weighs down the overlapping bark covering the cabin to keep it in place. It also adds a layer of insulation. This one room log cabin is made from spruce logs which are abundant in the area. A barrel stove warms up the cabin. Fur pelts hang outside the cache cabin where food is stored high above the ground to be out of reach of animals. These pelts are used for clothing, blankets, bed cushions, tent covers and other purposes. Costumes worn by Athabascan men and women are made of animal skin and decorated with beads.
“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” - James Michener