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(both: –păs`–), group of related Native American languages forming a branch of the Nadene linguistic family or stock. In the preconquest period, Athabascan was a large and extensive group of tongues. Its speakers lived in what are now Canada, Alaska, Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and parts of Mexico. Today the surviving Athabascan languages include Chipewyan, Kutchin, Carrier, and Sarsi (all in Canada); Chasta-Costa (in Oregon); Hoopa or Hupa (in California); Navajo (in New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah); and Apache (in Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico). These and other Athabascan languages are the mother tongues of about 175,000 indigenous people of North America. The speech communities of most Athabascan languages today are small, with the exception of Navajo, which has roughly 150,000 speakers, most of whom can also speak English. The Navajo are one of the largest Native American groups in the United States. A feature of the Navajo language, perhaps the best-known tongue in the Athabascan group, is its tonal quality. There are high tones, low tones, rising tones, and falling tones. Another important Athabascan tongue, Apache, is spoken in its various dialects by about 12,000 persons. According to some authorities, the Athabascan languages face extinction relatively soon. See Native American languagesNative American languages,
languages of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere and their descendants. A number of the Native American languages that were spoken at the time of the European arrival in the New World in the late 15th cent.
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See H. Hoijer et al., Studies in the Athapaskan Languages (1963).

References in periodicals archive ?
As a way to help strengthen shareholder ties to their culture, Doyon announced its support of a new Athabascan language revitalization program at the Doyon Foundation.
This reinforcement is a characteristic of western and Athabascan birchbark baskets.
Chief Michael Stickman of Nulato, International Chair of the Arctic Athabascan Council and a leading member of a newly established Arctic Council task force working to substantially improve procedures for combating oil spills in the Arctic, endorsed the alliance formation, stating: "Committing to clean up oil spills after they happen is insufficient.
The Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments will receive $263,377 for the telehealth project to provide video conferencing equipment to clinical project sites in Birch Creek, Venetie, Fort Yukon, Beaver, and Arctic Village.
Yup'ik Eskimos and Athabascan Indians have always relied on the salmon harvest to survive," said Marti Castle-Bickford of the Yukon River Fisheries Marketing Association.
Tutiakoff's Athabascan and Yup'ik heritage, paired with her personal and professional involvement with the Alaska Native community, has provided her with a unique statewide perspective on life in Alaska.
The Athabascan oil sands of northern Alberta hold one of the largest unconventional fossil fuel reserves on the planet, containing what US climatologist James Hansen describes as "twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history.
For example, in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Alaska, Athabascan hunters of caribou oppose the opening of the coastal plain to potential oil development, whereas Inuit hunters of sea mammals prefer opening the coastal plain to allowing such development in the coastal waters of the Beaufort Sea.
Among their topics are the conceptualization of body parts and emotion expressions in Beaver Athabascan, whether Nahuatl riddles are endangered conceptualizations, the use of a conceptual metaphor--narrative is climbing a mountain--in the Siroi language of Papua New Guinea, the importance of unveiling conceptual metaphors in a minority language as seen in Basque, and metaphors of the Finnish Roma in Finnish and Romani.
The ODenali/Fairbanks ExplorerO tour offers an up-close look at the Gold Rush that swept the nation, the Alaskan Pipeline, a visit to an Athabascan Indian Village, and the chance to experience the midnight sun.
Gwich'in Athabascan Implements: History, Manufacture, and Usage According to Reverend David Salmon" discusses the artifacts that have been uncovered in recent years in regards to the Athabascan people.
And so similarly with the two ships, HMCS Athabascan and the HMCS Halifax that rolled out right away and the can-do attitude coming out of 8-Wing, at Trenton.