The Ahtna-Athabascans have been a part of some parts of the Copper Valley for thousands of years. Because the geology here is so active, some areas of this valley were unlivable even a few hundred years ago. For instance, it is now believed that salmon did not access the Copper River until about 750 years ago, more or less. And thus, much of the valley would have been unlivable even in relatively-recent times. Meanwhile, Native traditions that date back uncounted generations, such at the dancing, the singing in Ahtna, and the potlatch, continue. You can visit the Ahtna museum at the Wrangell St. Elias National Park visitor center to learn more.
But if you want to learn some REAL history about Kennecott or its Copper River & Northwestern Railway, come into the bar, look at the many large framed historic photos and ask the owner. He is THE living expert on those topics.