Browsing University of Alaska Fairbanks by Subject "Wars"
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The Last Great Indian War (Nulato 1851)In this study, I review the causes of an Athabaskan conflict in western Alaska which occurred in 1851. This hostility is known in published sources as the Nulato Massacre. In oral tradition the same incident is referred to either as the Last Great Indian War or simply "The Nulato War". Critical reading and analysis of primary and secondary historical source materials offer insight into external pressures on the indigenous population, the analysis of oral tradition the resulting internal pressures. The combination of historic documentation and oral tradition provide a basis for the analysis of the Nulato Massacre as an internecine conflict. The Koyukon point of view reveals this conflict to be the result of a shamanistic power contest. While it may be argued that the conflict was precipitated ultimately by economic and social post-contact dislocations, the Koyukon perceive it as a disturbance of their concept of universal psychic unity, an overarching conceptualization which encompasses all aspects of Koyukon worldview. It was imperative in their view to regain control of their lives. The role of the shaman in such restoration was paramount.