The Subarctic people occupied a majority of Canada from the Yukon to Newfoundland, including parts of seven provinces and two territories. The Environment 5 million km2 of northern or boreal coniferous forest that extended from the arctic tundra to the mountains, plains or deciduous forest in the south and across North America from Labrador nearly to the Bering Sea.
Sun, 24 Sep Uncovering the secrets of Dene migration Archaeology shows Northern Indigenous people travelled and traded widely Raymond Yakeleya, a Dene filmmaker originally from Tulita, N. Part of the focus of the conference was on the people defined by the Dene family of languages and their movements across North America.
His work - as well as the work of his students and colleagues - is central to modern understanding of Dene history. So there's this very strong suspicion that there is this historical connection that goes back deep, deep in time. Todd Kristensen is a Ph. He said the discovery across a large region of tools made from Tertiary Hills Clinker stone challenges any notion that pre-contact Northerners lived in isolated pockets.
Part of Kristensen's current work is to track the spread of raw materials, and the stone tools made from those materials, across North America.
The circulation of those tools can provide clues to the origins and movement of Northern Dene. Clinker, a kind of glassy stone, is found in a deposit near modern day Tulita, and has been found distributed across more than one million square kilometres of land in the Northwest Territories and Alberta.
Some people think they moved in around 3, years ago, some think they have a much deeper history, [and] some think they have a more recent one. Valued for its beauty and tool making attributes, Kristensen said tools made of Clinker have been found at sites across the Northwest Territories, central Alberta and into the Yukon.
This spread of Clinker supports the idea of long distance "intergroup contacts" between Indigenous populations in Alberta and the Mackenzie Valley, and could provide insight into the migration of Dene people southward into Alberta and the American Southwest.
Kristensen said this challenges any notion that pre-contact Northerners lived in isolated pockets, but instead traveled widely and had extensive social networks that covered "swathes" of the continent.
Documenting the travels of pre-contact indigenous populations throughout North America is important, but researchers also want to understand what motivated them to travel in the first place. Yakeleya points to oral histories passed down through the generations that may provide clues as to why his ancestors traveled, and how the Dene came to settle in the Mackenzie Valley.
Yakeleya believes that second winter was the result of a volcanic eruption that spread a thick layer of ash so widely that it had the effect of introducing winter-like conditions where the ground was covered in ashen 'snow. Researchers say it could have spurred Dene migration southward.
Kristensen said the kind of archeological evidence needed to fully support a thesis like that hasn't been uncovered yet, but research does suggest that relatively recent volcanic eruptions did play a part in the migrations of the Dene.
I don't know if it could have spurred migrations in Alaska, but certainly people think that it did spur some migrations of people from southern Yukon and into the Northwest territories. The spread of volcanic ash would have had a devastating effect on the land and its people.
Volcanic ash is not like the ash a person might clean out of a fireplace. They're extremely sharp and they have a terrible impact on aquatic eco-systems," Ives said.
· The indigenous people of northern North America who survived the past years are in the process of recovering their own terms for themselves.
The most inclusive terms that accurately apply to them are plural words that translate loosely as “The People”.
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