Kaska (American Indians Ready Reference)
The Kaska were territorially divided into two bands, the Upper Laird and the Dease River. They had matriarchal moieties (Wolf and Crow). The household was the main socioeconomic unit, relying mostly upon fishing, supplemented with hunting, trapping, and late-summer gathering. Trade goods were transported, according to season and terrain, by toboggans, snowshoes, dugouts, bark canoes, and mooseskin boats.
European American contact with the Kaska was established in the 1820's by the Hudson's Bay Company, primarily for fur trading—which, with the introduction of disease, brought numerous cultural changes. In 1873, gold miners first encroached upon Kaska territory. In 1897-1898, the route to the Klondike crossed their land. Roman Catholic and Protestant missionaries also brought about significant cultural changes, and by 1945 all Kaska were nominally Roman Catholic. The greatest sustained change came in 1942 with construction of the Alaskan Highway. The Kaska now have essentially a cash economy, supported by seasonal employment with fishing and guiding services that cater to hunting parties.
(The entire section is 159 words.)
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