Language and landscape among the Tlingit

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Processes of perception, accommodation, and cultivation of places are critical to understanding the nature of language and landscape among coastal and river peoples. I present a processual model of landscape conceptualization in order to analyze how specific landscape classification schemes operate among the Tlingit of Southeast Alaska. Inhabiting some of the most dynamic and productive coastal and riparian ecosystems anywhere in the world, the Tlingit provide an especially rich case for examining these connections between land, river, and sea. Although the language is considered endangered, Tlingit toponyms and geographical nomenclature are well documented and many groups continue to occupy and use their traditional territory in ways that support traditional conceptualizations of the lands and waters of their living space.


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