Reconnecting with the Dena’ina in Anchorage

Point Woronzof camp
Ezi family at their fish camp at Nuch’ishtunt (Point Woronzof). From ‘Shem Pete’s Alaska,’ p. 338. Photo courtesy of Alberta Stephan.

In September, the Anchorage Museum opened an exhibit of deep interest to Anchorage. It tells the mostly forgotten history of the Dena’ina Athabascans who lived here centuries before Captain Cook sailed up the inlet. Still 2,000 people strong today, their community has been as large as 6,000.

As special guests on today’s program, we feature exhibit co-curator, Dena’ina Athabascan Aaron Leggett and cultural anthropologist Jim Fall of the Subsistence Division of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Leggett grew up in Anchorage hungry to know more about his heritage, but he found it difficult to learn. While studying anthropology at UAA, he had the opportunity to take a class with Fall and professor Steve Langdon—all about the Dena’ina heritage in this area. The class was taught two years, and Leggett became the teaching assistant the second round.

Leggett and his fellow students researched what was known and unknown about Native history in the area. The places they worked are familiar to us today—Chester Creek, Fish Creek, Westchester Lagoon, Point Woronzof. The class also argued before the Anchorage Assembly that the city’s new convention center should bear the Dena’ina name.

We’ll learn about the special technologies that were employed by the Dena’ina people. As the only Athabascans living on and near salt water, their hunting traditions are theirs alone. Listen in to learn more about your own hometown from the very first people to call it home.

Listen Now

GUESTS: (in the studio)

  • Aaron Leggett, Anchorage Museum
  • Jim Fall, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Subsistence Division



  • Call 550-8433 (Anchorage) or 1-888-353-5752  (statewide) during the live broadcast (2:00 – 3:00pm)
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HOST: Kathleen McCoy

LIVE BROADCAST: Wednesday, November 13, 2013. 2:00 – 3:00 pm (Alaska time)

REPEAT BROADCAST: Wednesday, November 13, 2013. 9:00 – 10:00 pm (Alaska time)

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