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Key words
Alaska, Athabaskans, Upper Kuskokwim, Russian influence, Orthodoxy
About the Author
E-mail: Tel.: +7 (495) 690-35-85
1–1, B. Kislovskiy side-str., Moscow, 125009, Russian Federation
Doctor of science (philology), head of the Department of Typology and Areal Linguistics, director of the Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences
Tel.: +7 (495) 939-26-01
1, Leninskie gory, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation
Professor, Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics of the Philological Faculty, Lomonosov Moscow State University

Research underlying this paper was supported by grant #17-18-01649 from the Russian Science Foundation.


Upper Kuskokwim Athabaskans are a native minority of Alaska residing in central Alaska, in the upper drainage of the Kuskokwim river. The Upper Kuskokwim language is endangered, spoken by only a few older individuals. In the mid- and late 19th century the Upper Kuskokwim people underwent strong Russian influence. All of them adopted the Russian Orthodox religion, which they still observe now. The article addresses main elements of the Russian influence, including the Orthodoxy, knowledge of Church Slavic hymns, Russian family names and personal names, as well as Russian lexical borrowings. From the point of view of big politics, the history of Russian America ended in 1867. However, from the point of view of native Alaskan cultures this history still goes on. Orthodoxy got entrenched in the Upper Kuskokwim area in the late 19th century and the early 20th century and turned into a constitutive element of the Upper Kuskokwim culture. 


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