Evelyn (#94) 9-21-12

Barbara and I visited the Native American Heritage Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Among other things it had a (surprise!) gift shop. The clerk, Evelyn, looked like a Native American, so I struck up a brief conversation. She seemed shy, but agreed to be photographed, even though we had to move next to a window to get (barely) enough light.

      (click to enlarge)

Evelyn’s ancestors include Athabaskans and Yup’ik nations. Athabaskans populate the central part of Alaska, while the Yup’ik and Cu’pik are located along the western coast, along the Bering Sea (see below map). They are true Eskimos, Athabaskans are not.

      (click to enlarge)

It seems logical that Athabaskans and Yup’ik would be ancestrally related, as they occupy contiguous land. But this is not the case. Athabaskans migrated from what is now Asia 28,000 years ago, during an Ice age. They walked to land that later became Alaska as the ice retreated. Eskimos migrated from Asia 14,000 years later, when the land masses and oceans were pretty much as today. They came by boat (Umiaks) to the shores of Alaska. Evelyn’s ancestors represent two separate eras.