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The traditional homelands of the Ingalik Indians include the lower Yukon and the upper Kuskokwim rivers in the Alaskan interior. This region is mountainous with woodlands and tundra.
This area supplied the Ingalik with fish, caribou, bear, moose and other game. Fish was the most central to their diet. Fishing would occupy much of their time during spring and early summer. Migratory birds were their primary supply of summer food. Muskrats would be hunted for food as well as pelts, that would be made into parkas and robes. Occasionally, the Ingaliks would hunt caribou, bear and moose.
The Ingaliks were very influenced by the Inuit. They wore parkas, trousers and other Inuit clothing. They borrowed harpoons, spear throwers and other Eskimo weapons. Rather then using skin covered boats, the Ingalik made birch canoes. In the winter the Ingalik constructed earth covered semi-subterranean lodges, in front of which racks would hold canoes and sleds for the winter months.
There were separate smokehouses and drying racks for salmon. In the summer they constructed their houses out of cottonwood or spruce bark. The Kashim was a semi-subterranean lodge that served as a center for the villages social activities. It was used daily by the men as a sweat house . It also was used as a council chamber, entertainment club, funeral home, and religious house for the shamans. The Kashim was normally used for the men only. Women stayed in the families houses.
The Ingalik enjoyed games, sports and potlatches. These potlatches were ceremonies that involved inviting guests, speechmaking and gift giving from the donor to the recipients according to their social rank. The bigger the gathering the higher the rank of the donor. Usually the potlatch was accompanied by a feast and generous hospitality. A potlatch was given by an heir to validate his newly found wealth. If there was a marriage, birth, or death there was another reason for a potlatch.
Alaska Community Database http://www.dced.state.ak.us/mra/CF_CIS.htm 3/7/1