(or Athabascans; self-designation, Dene), linguistically related group of Indian tribes, descendants of the penultimate wave of migrations from Asia to North America. After the spread of some of the Athapaskans to the south (in approximately the 12th century), two separate groups of Athapaskans were formed—that is, the farmers and herdsmen in the southwest of the present-day USA (Navaho, Lipan, Apache, Kiowa Apache, etc.) and the taiga-dwelling fishermen, hunters, and later, trappers in the basins of the Mackenzie and Yukon rivers, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains (Chipewyan, Kutchin, Knaiakhotana, Nahane, Sekani, etc.). At the present time the former group lives on reservations in the states of Arizona and New Mexico in the USA (population 150,000 in 1963), engaging in the traditional forms of economy; the majority of the northern Athapaskans (population 85,000) are migratory trappers and hunters, who are gradually taking up residence in settlements in the Canadian north.
REFERENCENarody Ameriki, vol. 1. Moscow, 1959.
IU. P. AVERKIEVA