The language of the Ahtna people, which is also referred to by the same name, belongs to the Na-Dene language family that includes the Tlingit, Eyak and Athabascan languages of North America. The four distinct dialects of the Ahtna language are still spoken today, and there are strong efforts to increase its use amongst current and new generations of shareholders to keep the language from becoming extinct.
Historically, the Ahtna people were semi-nomadic and extensive travelers, living in small groups of 20 to 40 people and continually following food sources and moving from place to place according to the seasons. Annual summer fish camps for the entire family and winter villages served as their base camps. Although most Ahtna are no longer nomadic, historical traditions and ways of life, especially the practice of a subsistence lifestyle, continue to this day.
Today, Ahtna supports and represents more than 2,000 shareholders, many of whom still reside in the Copper River region, with a mission to preserve, strengthen and enhance a cultural identity that has existed for thousands of years.
To fulfill this mission, Ahtna provides a number of economic, cultural and social benefits targeted specifically at our shareholders. To learn more about these benefits and services, please see the shareholders section of this website.
Ahtna Heritage Foundation
The Ahtna Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organization based out of Glennallen, has been documenting and promoting the history, culture and language of the Ahtna people.
To learn more please visit their website »