chapter  9
78 Pages

The Arctic and Subarctic

WithAlice B. Kehoe

The Arctic is not an easy land to move about in, but like the High Plains it offers the beauty of great spaces, of light, and of sculptures of wind, rock, and frost. Human ecology in the Arctic adapts to several environments—seacoast, tundra, river deltas, taiga forests, and mountain passes. Central Alaska is the terminus of the western North American mountain chain, and its Brooks Range raises jagged snowy peaks to form the southern boundary of the North Alaskan tundra coastal plain. The probability that the majority of American Indians are descendants of late Pleistocene and early Holocene migrants across the Bering Strait from Asia into Alaska enticed a number of archaeologists to search for evidence of these migrants in Northwestern America. Archaeological remains indicate a probable colonization of at least the eastern Aleutian Islands from the middle Holocene, and a demonstrable continuity of occupation on the larger eastern islands closer to the Alaskan mainland from 3000 b.c.