Revitalizing place names through stories and songs

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Native place names research conducted near Kaltag, Alaska, reveal that the Koyukon Athabascan have an intimate relationship with the land. The land, its resources and its inhabitants are examined through the etymology of the place names. Most Koyukon Athabascan place names are descriptive, are binomial, and can be classified into three semantic categories. Oral histories about place names reveal beliefs, stories, and songs of the people. Challenges and opportunities in passing on this knowledge to the younger generation are explored. Several Athabascan language revitalization efforts are underway that combine indigenous teaching strategies and modern technology.


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