| The Na-Dene
arrived in the Alaska-Yukon sub-arctic sometime after the end of the Ice
Age. They apparently walked across the frozen Bering Strait or (less
likely) traversed the strait in boats. They remained generally in that
area until about AD 750 when a cataclysmic volcano eruption in the Yukon
dispersed much of the phylum. The Haida and Tlingit then settled on the
Alaskan south coast, others in the sub-arctic, and others began long
migrations south. The Pacific Coast Athapaskans settled from southwest
Washington to northwest California about AD 900. Most, however, went out
onto the western edge of the Great Plains, ranging from the sub-arctic
to southwest Texas. The earliest arrivers in the American southwest,
Apachean ancestors of the Navajo reached the area as early as AD 1100.
The bulk of the Apacheans, however, arrived about AD 1500. All of the
Apacheans preyed on the sedentary peoples of the southwest.
All of the Na-Dene were hunter/gatherer cultures. The Haida and Tlingit
were maritime. The Ahtna and some of the Pacific Coast Athapaskans were
coastal. The remainder of the Alaskan, Yukon, and Northwest Territories
Athapaskans were sub-arctic. The Apacheans were bellicose plains
peoples, if not predatory. Many Apacheans eventually became
| This means
that the California Athapaskans were relatively late arrivers in the
region. As was often typical of Na-Dene continent wide, they, to a
considerable degree, embraced the cultures of the region in which they
analysis lists four California Athapaskan languages: Hupa,
Mattole, Tolowa, and Wailaki, as a single Pacific Coast Athapaskan
language family which includes some Oregon and Washington ethnies.
Some believe their are more linguistic families, but most of the dispute
surrounds the extinct Mattole and Wailaki languages.