Skip Navigation

Refuge Culture




For centuries, people have been drawn to the Kenai Peninsula because of the varied wildlife that exists here. Prior to European exploration in the mid-1700s, most of Cook Inlet, including the western Kenai Peninsula, was occupied by Athabascan Indians called Dena'ina. The Dena'ina migrated south from the Upper Susitna River region, gradually displacing an established Eskimo culture on the Kenai Peninsula.

The Dena'ina were hunters and foragers. Most of their permanent villages were located on major rivers where wood was plentiful and fish could be harvested throughout the winter. During the summer, the Dena'ina used fishing and hunting camps located inland from the coast, at lakes, and in the mountains. One Dena'ina village was located near the outlet of the Kenai River on Skilak Lake. 


Last Updated: Jul 02, 2012
Return to main navigation