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peoples of Alaska and their Eskimo Culture Alaska is still the last frontier in the minds of many Americans Interest in the Great Land has increased sharply since Alaska The Native became a full fledged state in January o f 1959 In spite of this great interest many Americans know very little of the Eskimos Indians and Aleuts Al-ee-oots who live in the remote regions At the time Alaska was discovered in 1741 by Vitus Bering Alaska Natives populated all parts of Alaska including the Bering Strait Region Although there is still some disagreement among anthropologists concerning the origin of the American Indians and Eskimos the great majority believe that these people migrated across the Bering Strait from Asia Apparently this migration occurred in successive waves over thousands of years The northern Eskimo groups appear to be the most recent immigrants and have settled along the coast of the Arctic Ocean from Little Diomede Island to Greenland In Alaska the Natives lived within well defined regions and there was little mixing of ethnic groups As in any culture the way of life was dictated by the availability of renewable resources In Southeast Alaska the salmon deer and other plentiful foods permitted the Tlingits Tsimpshians and Haidas to settle in permanent villages and develop a culture rich in art The Athapaskan Indians of the Alaskan Interior on the other hand became wanderers following the migrating caribou herds and taking advantage of seasonal abundance of fish water fowl and other game The Eskimo people like the Tlingits depended upon the sea for life However a more hostile climate and fewer resources required a far different adaptation resulting in their unique cultural traditions The Eskimos call themselves Inuit or Real People The impact of the 20th Century culture has brought many changes among all the Native people some good and some unfortunate As a result most Eskimos and Indians live in a dual
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