Woman with girl hugging her shoulders, both in traditional native dress, with Ahtna mountains in the background.Wooden trim

Ahtna History & Culture

The Ahtna people take their name from the indigenous name for the Copper River, which flows through Ahtna land.

Ahtna, Inc. shareholders are mainly comprised of the Ahtna Athabascan people of the Copper River and Cantwell regions of Southcentral Alaska.

The language of the Ahtna people, which is also referred to by the same name, belongs to the Na-Dene language family that includes the Tlingit, Eyak and Athabascan languages of North America. The four distinct dialects of the Ahtna language are still spoken today, and there are strong efforts to increase its use amongst new generations of shareholders to preserve the language from extinction.

Historically, the Ahtna people were semi-nomadic and extensive travelers, living in small groups of 20 to 40 people. They continually moved from place to place, following food sources according to the seasons. Annual summer fish camps for the entire family and winter villages served as their base camps. Although most Ahtna are no longer nomadic, historical traditions and ways of life, especially the practice of a subsistence lifestyle, continue to this day.

Ahtna represents more than 2,000 shareholders, many of whom still reside in the Copper River region. Ahtna’s primary mission is to preserve, strengthen, and enhance a cultural identity that has existed for thousands of years.

To fulfill this mission, Ahtna provides a number of economic, cultural and social benefits for our shareholders. To learn more about these benefits and services, please see the shareholders section of this website.

Ahtna Cultural Heritage Video

This video is a result of Ahtna and the Copper River Native Association’s combined efforts to educate people about the history and culture of the Ahtna people. Traditionally Ahtna families made a living by hunting, fishing, trapping, and gathering plants and berries. Life on the land had a seasonal rhythm.

2023 Ahtna 50th Anniversary Milestones

This video was produced by Ahtna, Incorporated in celebration of our 50th Annual Shareholders Meeting.

It is truly an incredible accomplishment for Ahtna to have reached the milestone of hosting our 50th Annual Meeting. This is a testament to the strength, resilience, and perseverance of the Ahtna people, who have been working tirelessly to protect and preserve our culture and traditions for generations.

Ahtna 50th Anniversary: Our Past, Our Future

This video was produced by Ahtna, Incorporated in celebration of our 50th anniversary.

We would not be where we are without the wisdom and guidance of our Elders and early leaders. They instilled in our minds that our lands are our corporation’s most precious gem. Respect and care for the land and it will provide.

Celebrate 50 years of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA)

This video was produced by the ANCSA Regional Association.

The film looks back at the first 50 years of ANCSA using historical footage and photos and captures a glimpse of what’s to come through interviews with Alaska Native leaders, policymakers, and culture bearers.

Gulkana Village Historical Video

This video was produced in partnership between Gulkana Village Council and Ahtna, Incorporated.

In 2020, after almost 50 years, the Gulkana Village Council reached a resolution with the State of Alaska on the return of their former village lands and traditional burial grounds.