Kutchin, Gwichin of North America

People Group Info

Total Population: 4,200

ROP3 Code: 105489
IMB Affinity Group: American Peoples
Affinity Bloc: North American Peoples
People Cluster: North American Indigenous
Language: Gwich?in - (gwi)
Religion: Christianity - Other / Marginal
Country of Origin: United States

Majority Located Where

  Old Crow, YT - 3,100

  Fort Yukon, AK - 520

  Venetie, AK - 152

  Arctic Village, AK - 135

  Circle, AK - 87

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Brief Profile

The Kutchin, Gwichin people are an Alaska Native people who live in the northwestern part of North America, mostly above the Arctic Circle.

Specifically, they reside in the villages of Arctic Village, Venetie, Fort Yukon, Chalkyitsik, Circle, and Birch Creek, as well as in a wide adjacent area of the Northwest Territories and Yukon Territory.

Out of the total population over 300 still speak their native language, Gwichin. Gwich'in has had a written literature since the 1870s, when Episcopalian missionaries began extensive work on the language.

A modern writing system was designed in the 1960s by Richard Mueller, and many books, including story collections and linguistic material, have been published by Katherine Peter, Jeff Leer, Lillian Garnett, Kathy Sikorski, and others. (Alaskan Native Language Center)

Kutchin men are well known for their crafting of snowshoes, birchbark canoes, and the two-way sled.

The women are renowned for their intricate and ornate beadwork. They also continue to make traditional caribou-skin clothing and porcupine quillwork embroidery, both of which are highly regarded among Kutchin. Today the economy is mostly a mix of hunting, fishing, and seasonal wage-paying employment.

The Episcopal Church has a long history among the Kutchin people. Five of the six villages have Episcopal Churches. However, the Kutchin people in those villages are in name only Christian and have very little adherence to Christianity or experienced being "born again". Only one village, Fort Yukon, has two evangelical churches - an Assembly of God and Baptist.

Prayer Points

  • Pray that evangelical Christians in Fort Yukon will carry the message of being "born again" through Jesus Christ to other Kutchin villages.
  • Pray for evangelical Christians to make disciples who will in turn make disciples.
  • Pray evangelical Christians will grow in their faith and passion for sharing the message of Christ with all nations and peoples.


Global Recordings Network
Native Americans - Worldview and Trends
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