Dene (Athabaskan)

The homeland of the Dene languages is northwestern Canada and south/eastern Alaska. There are, however, two offshoots in the United States. The Apachean languages are spoken in the American Southwest, while the Pacific Coast languages are spoken in various places along the Pacific coast from the far north of California to southern Washington.

The Dene language family as a whole is fairly closely related to Eyak, a language once spoken in the Cook inlet area of southern Alaska. Eyak is no more closely related to the neighboring Alaskan Dene languages than it is to Navajo; it evidently split off a long ago from the rest of Dene.

Tlingit is a more distant relative of Dene and Eyak. The relationship of Tlingit to Dene and Eyak was unclear for many years. As a result, Tlingit is listed in many sources as an isolate. However, improved knowledge of Tlingit has made it clear that Tlingit is related to Dene and Eyak.1

Footnotes / References
1. text slightly modified from http://www.ydli.org/bcother/bclist.htm#sal