Several different ethnolinguistic groups in south-central Alaska and southwestern Yukon used native copper. This indigenous innovation diffused throughout the region with the majority of use occurring from A .D. 1000 to 1700. The relatively recent origin of this technology and its continued use long after European contact provide an opportunity to examine the process of innovation among hunter-gatherers using archaeology, metallurgy, and ethnohistory. The analysis of these data using a Behavioral Archaeology framework demonstrates that native copper was used for both practical and prestige technology among groups of varying social complexity. Northern Athabascans did not use native copper overtly as prestige technology, but its many supernatural associations suggest it was a “prestigious” material. Furthermore, native copper provided northern Athabascan aggrandizer-innovators the opportunity to acquire prestige and power through their monopolization of trade relationships and subsequent control of the movement of native copper.