Definition of Ahtena
1a : an Athapaskan people of the Copper river valley in southeastern Alaska The Ahtena hunted a variety of animals, including moose, caribou, mountain sheep, and rabbits. — Carl Waldman, Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes, (1999) 2006 The Ahtna lived in extended family groups close to good salmon runs, which provided the mainstay of their diet. — Greg Fensterman, Hiking Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, 2008 b : a member of such people
2 : the language of the Ahtena people The Ahtena language is spoken by a minority of tribal members; a dictionary was published in 1990 in the hope of preserving it. — Carl Waldman, Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes, (1999) 2006 His rebuke caused no little tension and was immediately followed by a conciliatory speech in both Ahtna and English … — William E. Simeone, Rifles, Blankets, and Beads, 1995
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Origin and Etymology of ahtena
borrowed from Russian Atna, borrowed from Ahtna ʔatnaʔ, name for the lower Copper River (in ʔatnaʔ Wt̓e·, literally, “lower Copper River people”)
First Known Use: 1877
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