This book explores the conceptual basis for the events in the prehistory of the Athapaskans, one of the most widespread peoples in western North America. Basing his research on the premise that social structure is not passively dependent on the technological and economic bases of society, Ives argues that, ultimately, kinship is the idiom through which economic relationships are expressed among the Northern Athapaskans. Various group-forming principles selected by Northern Athapaskan societies had a direct bearing on both the size of the groups and the nature of the alliances among local groups. Size and interband relations influenced how and when alternative economic strategies, ranging from boreal forest foraging to communal hunting of bison or caribou, emerges, thereby structuring the archaeological record. An interdisciplinary treatment of North Athapaskan prehistory, this work is of interest to those studying kinship and social structure, hunter-gatherer specialists, ethnohistorians, fur trade scholars, and archaeologists looking for concrete examples of how social structure and economic strategies are interconnected.