The Macalester Review


This paper demonstrates the relationship between the natural environment and the Koyukon Athabaskan Indians that live in Northwestern Alaska. The identity of the Koyukon Indian people derives from the land upon which they survive. This identity is defined through hunting and by the notion of reciprocity between animals, the environment, and human beings. This paper argues that this “environmental identity” has been impacted largely by imposition from the West and is continually threatened by adverse consequences of climate change. These changes will have a profound effect upon the Koyukon people and their environmental identity. It is too early to estimate how drastically this shared identity will be altered, but we can be sure that it will.