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" I was born upon the prairie where the wind blew free, and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures, and where everything drew free breath. I want to die there, and not within walls." - Ten Bears, Comanche Chief


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Athabaskan or Athabascan (also Athapascan or Athapaskan) is the name of a large group of distantly related Native American peoples, also known as the Athabasca Indians or Athapaskes, located in two main Southern and Northern groups in western North America, and of their language family. The Athabaskan family is the largest family in North America in terms of number of languages and the number of speakers. In terms of territory, only the Algic language family covers a larger area.

The 24 Northern Athabaskan languages are spoken throughout the interior of Alaska and the interior of northwestern Canada in the Yukon and Northwest Territories as well as in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Several Athabaskan languages are official languages in the Northwest Territories, including Chipewyan, Dogrib or Tlicho, Gwich'in, and Slavey.

The seven Pacific Coastal Athabaskan languages are spoken in southern Oregon and northern California. Isolated from the northern and coastal languages, the six Southern Athabaskan languages, including the different Apache peoples and Navajo, are spoken in the American Southwest and the northwestern part of Mexico.

Eyak and Athabaskan form a language group called Athabaskan-Eyak. Tlingit is said to be related to this group to form the Na-Dené stock.

The word Athabaskan is an anglicized version of the Cree name for Lake Athabasca in Canada.