To understand these people you have to understand their culture, way of life, and most importantly their mind-set. They saw themselves as a small part of a bigger plant and animal system. Believing in an afterlife, everything was seen as having a spirit or soul, and where always careful when it came to respecting these spirits. For this, I also see shamans as a peacekeeper between spirits and humans. The fear of not knowing whether or not they could be extinguished by evil spirits, I think, is what kept the communities working and settling in a calm manner always being respectful and careful of what they do and how they do it. To Alaska natives from my understanding viewed the world as being "fluid" and within that world there was more potential for movement across physical, spiritual, and temporal dimensions. Compared to today where we have grown accustomed to the predictability of things, or fall into a pattern, and we become disturbed when that falls out of sync. To a lot of us these people aren't ordinary, but to understand them, like I said, you need to know what they believed in, what they feared, and what kind of mind set these people where in so many years ago.