For more than 60 years, the Eklutna River north of Anchorage had been dammed up, stifling the salmon runs that fed generations of Dena’ina people in the area. 

Before the damming, for hundreds of years, the area surrounding Eklutna Lake was populated by the Dena’ina people. Curtis McQueen says the inhabitants were originally more nomadic. 

“They settled these lands here and never left because of the rich abundance of habitat in this area,” Curtis McQueen said of the originally nomadic Dena’ina. McQueen is the former CEO of Eklutna Inc., the Tribe’s for-profit corporation.

Teaching Dena'ina language through stories

Feb 23, 2021

When it comes to stories, it’s not just what you say — it’s how you say it.

Local linguists are incorporating storytelling into their language revitalization efforts, giving elders a chance to create and tell stories in their native languages and imparting that knowledge onto language learners.