Tlingit - Orientation

Identification. The Tlingit are an American Indian group located in southern Alaska. "Tlingit" means "in the people."

Location. The Tlingit continue to occupy many of their aboriginal village sites along the southeastern coast of Alaska from Ketchikan to Yakutat—54°40′ N to about 60° N—and from the coast to Lake Atlin, or as the Tlingit say, the "second mountain range." This area includes many offshore islands, numerous streams emptying into inlets, and rugged mountains that jut up from the edge of the sea and whose snow-capped serrated peaks cover most of the area.

Demography. Conservative population estimates place the precontact population at ten thousand. The present Tlingit population numbers about twenty-five thousand.

Linguistic Affiliation. The Tlingit language is classified in the Na-Dene phylum. Among the coastal Tlingit, northern, central and southern dialects are still spoken by the elders.

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