Courtesy of Mary Catherine Martin, Juneau, Alaska.

No matter the season, every day from age six began the same way for a young K’inéix Kwáan man training to be a warrior in pre-contact Yakutat — by wading into the ocean and staying as long as he could without passing out,” wrote Mary Catherine Martin about the people living in Alaska near Icy Bay.

This was environmental training,” Kai Monture, a Tlingit and Eyak member of the Yéil house of the K’inéix Kwáan, or Copper River clan. ““We spend half our lives on the water anyway, for subsistence. And because raiding was such a big aspect of Tlingit warfare, especially by sea, conditioning to water was a really big aspect of Tlingit warrior training.”

For more information on the hardened lives of K’inéix Kwáan men, visit here.

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