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Impearls: HIC 7.1.3: Landward outlook

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Earthdate 2005-11-12

Landward outlook   by A. L. Kroeber

It is a remarkable fact that with all the immense range of the Athabascan family as a whole — probably the greatest, in mere miles, of any stock represented on the continent — they approach the sea in an endless number of places, but actually held its shores over only three or four brief frontages.  Two of these lie in California; but even here the strange impulse toward the interior is manifest.  The inland range of the California Athabascans has double the length of their coastal distribution.  Yurok, Wiyot, and Yukian territories lie between the ocean and an Athabascan hinterland.  Not one of the 10 Athabascan groups just enumerated is more than 30 miles from the boom of the surf.  Yet only 3 of the 10 hold a foot of beach.  It may have been the play of historical accident and nothing more, but it is hard to rid the mind of the thought that in this perverse distribution we may be face to face with something basal that has persisted through the wanderings of thousands of years and the repeated reshapings of whole cultures.



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