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The Indians: Encyclopedia Arctica 8: Anthropology and Archeology
Stefansson, Vilhjalmur, 1879-1962

The Indians

Regional Description

The Tlingit, Haida, and Eyak Indians of Southeastern Alaska

EA-Anthrop.
(Viola E. Garfield)

THE TLINGIT, HAIDA, AND EYAK INDIANS OF SOUTHEASTERN ALASKA

Tlingit and Haida
The Tlingit Indians occupy the mountainous and deeply indented coast of
southeastern Alaska and the equally rugged islands of Alexander archipelago,
except for a small southern area occupied by the Kaigani tribe of Haida. Though
the Tlingit crossed the coast range to hunt, fish, and trade in the interior,
their permanent residences and resource areas were located on the Pacific water–
shed. With a few exceptions villages were on salt water or near the mouths of
streams within easy reach of tidewater.
Katalla was the westernmost village, though the Tlingit ranged farther west
to hunt and trade, and may have had villages or camps at the mouth of the Copper
River in pre-white times. The Eyak were their western neighbors on the mainland.
Tlingit and Eskimo disputed possession of Kayak Island during the nineteenth
century and the Tlingit attached Baranov's party on Hinchinbrook Island at the
entrance to Prince William Sound in 1792. At the time of the Russian occupation
they were evidently expanding westward. Dixon's Entrance and Portland Canal mark–
ed the southern and southeastern boundaries, respectively.
Haida from the northern end of Queen Charlotte Islands crossed Dixon's
Entrance in the early eighteenth century as a consequence of local feuds. They
drove the Tlingit from their homes and fishing areas and, by the end of the cen–
tury, had taken over the southern third of Prince of Wales Island and adjacent
smaller islands.During the fur trade era they congregated in Kaigani

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

Strait between Dall and Long islands where there was good anchorage for ships.
In the fourteen or fifteen named geographic divisions of the Tlingit the
people are referred to by the name of the island, river basin, or local area
in which they lived. There was at least one large town in each tribal area.
Klukwan, Hoonah, Angoon, and Kake are the only existing towns which have been
occupied since pre-white times. There were dialectic and cultural differences
between the people of the localities, especially marked between the westerly
Yakutat and tribes of the southern archipelago. The Alaska Haida belong to a
single tribal division, the Kaigani. They occupied four main villages, Sukkwan,
Klinkwan, Howkan, and Kasaan, but are now concentrated in the towns of Hydaburg
and New Kassan, neither of which are on sites of pre-white villages. The geo–
graphic divisions or tribes had no political or economic unity. Political or
governmental functions were limited to the localized segments of clans.
Tlingit and Haida are classified as Nadene languages. Eyak and the wide–
spread Athapascan languages are also members of the Nadene stock. Dialects of
Athapascan are spoken by most of the natives of the interior of Alaska and parts
of adjacent Yukon Territory and British Columbia. There are dialectic differ–
ences in Tlingit, the study and classification of which have not been completed.
The Kaigani speak the Masset dialect of Haida.
Traditions of the Tlingit point to the interior as the home of many of
their ancestors who moved down the rivers and inlets and then to the islands.
Other traditions trace origins of some of their lineages to the Haida of Queen
Charlotte Islands and the Tsimshian of the British Columbia mainland. In addi–
tion there is evidence of pre-Tlingit native inhabitants whose customs, language,
and cultural affiliations are not at all clear. They may be considered the abor–
iginal population of the Alaska archipelago, which has been settled for a long
period of time. Haida traditions also point to a mixed origin.

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

Certain distinctive features of kinship organization, economics, hereditary
class prerogatives, and artistic elaboration, which the Tlingit and Haida share
with other Northwest Coast tribes, were certainly developed within their own
area with a minimum of direct external stimulus. Cultural exchange between the
Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian and between the last two and the Kwakiutl spread
many traits which give the region a unique cast in North America, and set the
Tlingit off from their Athapascan and Eskimo neighbors. However, the Tlingit
and Haida share generalized traits with other peoples of the circumpolar Old
and New Worlds.
Chirikov, who reached what is believed to be Sitka Sound in 1741, is
credited with being the first explorer to have landed man in Tlingit territory.
Earlier arrival of Asiatics in Tlingit and Haid a territory is a possibility, but
the evidence is not conclusive. A Russian colony was started in Yakutat Bay in
1795 and destroyed by the Tlingit in 1805. The colony at Sitka suffered the
same fate but was re-established in 1804 to become the first permanent settle–
ment of the invaders in the Tlingit homeland. Opening of the maritime fur trade
in the 1770's brought Northwest Coast Indians into such intimate contact with
Europeans as to have resulted in an almost complete breakdown of their cultures.
The Kaigani met the fur traders a few years before the Tlingit but European
settlers did not invade Haida territory in any numbers until the 1880s.
Though much could be gleaned about Tlingit and Haida life and customs from
Russian sources and journals of fur traders and explorers, no comprehensive
study has been made of these materials. The earliest systematic descriptions
of the natives of the Alaska archipelago are to be found in Aurel Krause's,
Dic Tlinkit Indianer, published in 1885, and Albert P. Niblack's, The Coast
Indians of Southern Alaska and Northern British Columbia , printed in 1888. Both

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

men reported on personal observations and results of inquiries, though they
also drew on published material and on ethnological collections from the area.
The first field work by a trained ethnologist was by John R. Swanton in 1904,
the results of which were published in two volumes: Tlingit Myths and Texts,
and Social Conditions, Beliefs, and Linguistic Relationship of the Tlingit
Indians . Despite its limitations, the latter remains the only comprehensive
study of the social organization. Later studies have mainly dealt with the
formal structure of Tlingit society, the prestige value of wealth, and the
distribution of it in potlatches. Little has been done to explain the basic
economic structure which could support potlatching in all its complex manifes–
tations. A detailed economic study of Klukwan village on the Chilkat River,
was made by Kalvero Oberg. The results were summarized in The Social Economy
of the Tlingit Indians
, University of Chicago (unpublished).
Niblack included the Queen Charlotte and Kaigani Haida in his study and
Swanton visited the Haida in 1900-01. He published Haida Texts, Masset Dialect ,
and Contributions to the Ethnology of the Haida . George P. Murdock has pub–
lished two important papers on Particular aspects of Haida culture: The Kinship
System of the Haida
, and Rank and Potlatch Among the Haida .
The effect of maritime fur trade in the period of sea otter hunting from
about 1780 to 1825, has been studied by Joyce Wike Holder for the whole North
west Coast area, providing a good basis for a more detailed examination of the
effect on various Tlingit and Haida groups involved. Sea otter hunting, which
was more advantageous for those living on the outer islands, left the mainland
people isolated and in the backwash of the new wealth. The effects of develop–
ing competition for land furs in the middle nineteenth century and of transition
from Russian to American control have not been investigated.

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

Situated in an area rich in fish and other marine life and with an abund–
ance of timber, the Tlingit and Haida were maritime people subsisting largely
on sea food. This was supplemented by meat, berries, and vegetable foods.
Melting snow and heavy rainfall combine to furnish southeastern Alaska with
numerous streams, ranging in size from the large Copper, Chilkat, Taku, and
Stikine rivers to small creeks. Each is a spawning ground for one or more of
the five varieties of salmon, which, utilized fresh and dried, was the staple
food of the Indians and is now the backbone of the fishing industry in the
American Northwest. The Indians were able to take full advantage of this vast
storehouse of perishable foods only because they knew how to dry and smoke
fish, meat, and berries, render oil from fish and seals, and how to preserve
meat and berries by sealing them in fat.
Unlike most hunting and fishing tribes, the Tlingit and Haida lived in
permanent villages, which were occupied during the winter months and to which
the occupants returned periodically during the summer with food supplies. Most
social activities took place in the villages and many possessions of the in–
habitants were kept there. The large, well-built homes were constructed of
split, dressed red cedar planks on a framework of logs. The four corner posts
were sometimes ornamented with painted and carved crest figures, which also
appeared on facades of some homes. Carved mortuary and totem poles stood in
front of the houses or nearby. Furnished with richly carved and painted wooden
chests and dishes, and with mats and baskets, homes were colorful. By contrast,
camp structures were usually roughly built shelters or small, undecorated build–
ings similar in construction to permanent homes. Furnishings were reduced to
easily transported camp equipment. Smokehouses were built at the fish camps.
These were also similar in design to dwellings and were built since they were
used every summer. Some families lived in their smokehouses instead of building

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

separate quarters. Since the seas was his highway, an Indian's home or camp
faced the water, only a few steps from the beach and his canoe.
The large dugout canoe made exploitation of an extensive area possible.
Each lineage or house group owned fishing, trapping, and hunting territories,
berry patches, beaches, and other resrouce areas, some of them long distances
from their winter village, and trips of hundreds of miles in the course of a
year were not infrequent. Long journeys were made not only to collect food
necessities and delicacies from house group resources, but also to trade or
visit with neighboring tribes, or to raid them.
The seasonal nature of salmon, herring, and olachen runs determined the
food-getting activities or Northwest Coast Indians throughout the year. The
yearly exodus from winter villages to fish camps began with the runs of olachen,
a variety of candlefish with high oil content, in late February or early March.
Olachen were not as widely distributed as salmon and herring. All of the
tribes who could, congregated on the Nass River where the largest runs of
olachen were found. Some of the fish were dried but the greater quantity were
converted into oil. The major salmon runs began the first of June and lasted
until the latter part of October. Many permanent villages were virtually de–
serted when families scattered to fish camps, following the main runs of the
different varieties. Sockeyes, which run from July to September in small and
large streams, were the favorite fish for drying. Cohoes, caught from July
to November, were second in importance. The men also went deep-sea fishing
for halibut and cod during the spring and summer. Women dressed and dried fish
brought in by the men and cooperated with them in making oil. Shellfish, berries,
and vegetable foods were collected and prepared exclusively by women. They also
gathered grasses, roots, and cedar bark for mats and baskets. Seal meat, oil,

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

and skins were utilized by tribes living in Icy Strait and westward, but less
important to the rest of the Tlingit. Sea lions were also hunted, but for
sport rather than to provide necessary food. Before the fur trade stimulated
fur seal and sea otter hunting, these were hunted for their pelts in the spring
during migration along the outer coast to their northern breeding grounds.
Bear, mountain goat, and deer were hunted during September and October.
By the first of November the food supply had been gathered and stored in the
winter villages or in conveniently located camp caches. By late November most
of the villagers were back in their winter homes. Some trapping was carried
on during the winter months even before the commercial demand for furs, but only
a few men were concerned with it.
The only individuals not actively involved in the seasonal economic shifts
were the shamans, who did very little hunting and fishing, and some of the
older men who specialized in canoe building or totem pole carving from which
they gained their livelihood.
Some fishing and hunting were done during the winter to supply fresh fish
and meat. If a large potlatch or feast had been given the hosts and their fam–
ilies were sometimes short of stored food by late winter and were forced to
forage. Tales of whole villages faced with starvation are common to the North
west Coast and could only be due to lack of judgment and foresight in storing
of sufficient food during the summer or to too lavish feasting during early
winter. Since guests were served more than they could possibly eat and were
given food as presents, a round of feasting and entertaining could easily have
left a village with severaly depleted supplies before the spring run of fish.
Normally villagers were relatively free from food collecting activities
from late November to early March. They turned their energies and attention to

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

potlatching, feasting, visiting, and artistic pursuits. Women wove blankets,
made clothing, and converted raw materials into mats and baskets. Carvers and
craftsmen made the many small articles such as masks, dishes, spoons, and rattles
that were in demand, and made and repaired tools and weapons. Houses, totem
poles and mortuary columns were made and dedicated, shamans held their demonstra–
tions of powers, other men exhibited their hereditary spirits, and most of the
dramatic productions were staged. Funeral services were sometimes deferred un–
til winter and commemorative potlatches were always held then. Novices sought
guardian spirits, dancers and singers practiced for potlatches, composers taught
new songs for the coming festivities, and craftsmen designed and made stage prop–
erties and directed the staging of dramas. A minimum of time was expended in
day-to-day food getting and subsistence activities. Stormy days and long even–
ings gave storytellers uninterrupted hours to practice their art, while listeners
occupied themselves with hand work.
Supplies of food and manufactured goods were also sufficient to provide a
surplus for trade. Active barter was carried on between the Tlingit, Haida, and
Tsimshian even before the fur trade greatly increased exchangeable wealth. The
Tlingit traded with the Athapascans for ermine, marmot, elk, and moose skins and
for copper, the most valuable commodity of all. Large canoes, manufactured by
the Haida, and olachen grease from Nass River were also popular. Standards of
barter values facilitated exchange. Marmot skins and bundles of dried fish were
the smallest standards of value. Moose and elk skins, in bundles of twenty skins
each, had recognized exchange value in terms of other commodities. Wooden boxes
in which olachen grease was stored were measured and standardized in terms of
skins, canoes, and other products. The custom of comparing different commodities
against each other was very useful in dealing with the fur traders and resulted

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

in even greater standardization of comparative values of intertribal barter
goods. With the establishment of the Hudson's Bay Company on the coast in the
1830s, blankets stocked by them became the units of value to which all other
commodities were adjusted.
Trading was a prerogative of house heads, who monopolized barter in slaves
and copper shields, and supervised trading done by their followers. Women took'
an active part, not only in barter of commodities made by them but also in the
bargaining carried on by the men. The main stimulus for trade was to accumulate
goods for a potlatch or feast, hence perishables were converted into durable,
easily stored, nonbulky skins, copper shields, and Chilkat blankets in pre–
white times. Later, commercial blankets were the chief items of stored wealth,
though cloth was also popular.
Trading expeditions were mainly organized during the fall when the store
of food and goods was at its height. This applied to both pre-white and fur
trade days. Fur traders commented on the rapidity with which items they barter–
ed to one group spread through the area.
The kinship grouping of the Tlingit was based on two exogamous, matrilineal
divisions or moieties, which had no other function than the regulation of spouse
selection. Legal marriage was possible only between members of opposite moieties.
Ethnologists have designated these the Ravens and Wolves. The latter division
is referred to as the Eagle moiety in the southern tribes. Those designations
are derived from the principal crests of the two sides, though not all of the
members of the Wolf moiety claim the wolf as their totemic animal. Some, as
noted above, claim the eagle. Tlingit names for the moieties are so little used
that the natives themselves do not agree on the correct terms, and usually cannot
translate those they offer.

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

Most individuals were much less concerned with their moiety affiliation
than with the clan, or its smaller, more intimate division, the house group.
House groups had names, in most cases derived from the name of an original
dwelling. All descendants of the house, traced through women, are known by a
single term derived from the name of the dwelling. Many of these house groups
are now scattered throughout Tlingit territory and also have recognized rela–
tives in Eyak, Athapascan, Haida, and Tsimshian tribes. Many of the clans like–
wise trace their origin to a very small group who started a new line. At pres–
ent most clans include members of a number of separate houses, and are, like the
house groups, non-localized. Individuals are born into a house group and clan,
and be derivation, into a moiety. Only captivity and slavery could deprive them
of the benefits and responsibilities of membership.
Like the Tlingit, Haida kinship was traced through the mother's line.
There were also two moieties, designated by ethnologists the Ravens and Eagles
after the principal crests. Clans and house groups of the Haida and Tlingit
were so equated that marriages between them preserved the rules of matrilineal
descent and property inheritance.
The house group was the effective political, social and economic unit. A
house head or chief presided over each house, was custodian of the community
property of its members, directed their social and economic activties and ad–
ministered legal affairs, disciplined younger members and demanded redress for
crimes against persons or property under his jurisdiction. A chief of a parent
house with several younger, branch houses under his control could wield a great
deal of power.
All economically vital natural resources were owned by house groups. The or–
etically, all members of the group had equal right to exploit such resources.

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

Actually, the house head, as custodian and administrator, dictated the collec–
tion and disposition of raw and manufactured materials, over and above those
necessary for subsistence. Since the exploitation of resources was efficient
enough to provide sizeable surpluses which the house head could manipulate
largely for his own benefit, and since certain kinds of property like slaves
and copper shields were so expensive that only wealthy men could own them, a
chief actually had access to much more wealth than his followers. House heads
also acquired personal property rights. Ermine, marten, and sea otter skins,
copper shields, slaves, and certain salmon streams were some of the wealth appre–
priated by chiefs for their exclusive use. Also, individuals under his juris–
diction were obligated to contribute a portion of everything they acquired through
their own efforts. The house head provided for his group in times of famine,
and gave feasts for them.
Chieftainship descended in the mother's line; the heir was a younger brother
or sister's son. Since younger brothers were often designated heads of subsid–
iary houses, it was more usual for a nephew to succeed. The position never passed
to a woman. There were no clan chiefs, hence all political power was concentrated
in the house group. These small groups with their property, separatist tradition,
rivalry, and jealous guarding of their prerogatives prevented even a village
from joining forces to protect their common interests. Russian and American
invaders forced a grudging recognition of a few chiefs as spokesmen or representa–
tives with whom the outsiders could deal, but did not bring about any real polit–
ical unity.
An hereditary class system developed among the Tlingit and Haida as it did
among other Northwest Coast Indians. House heads and those directly descended
from their sisters, the sons of whom were legitimate heirs for chieftainships

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

belonged to the class of nobility. Since chiefs were also expected to be, and
usually were, the wealthiest members of the tribe, the highest social ranking
was accorded those descended from a long line of chiefs who were at the same time
the wealthiest members. Because of concentration of control of house group and
personal property there was a tendency for the descendants of younger lines to
lose status. It was natural for chiefs to select wives from the daughters or
sisters of chiefs in order to maintain class standing for themselves, and espec–
ially for their children, but there were obvious advantages in combining the
wealth of two lines. In short, two influences helped to maintain the wealthy
class; the hereditary advantages of birth, and monopoly of wealth within the class.
The middle class or commoners were those descended from women whose sons
were not eligible for chieftainship. Commoners owned only their tools, weapons,
and personal effects. They did not wear the rare and costly sea otter, seal, and
ermine furs, nor ornaments of copper and abalone shell. They did not undertake
house building, totem pole raising, or potlatches, but assisted their chiefs in
these enterprises.
Outside the social pale were the slaves, who were war captives and those of
slave parentage. Many of these were Kwakiutl, captured or bought from southern
villages, though Haida, Tlingit, Tsimshian and Athapascan villages were also
raided. As many as forty slaves have been reported as belonging to a single
chief, though this numer is said to have been collected especially for a potlatch
at which they were given away. Ten to fifteen have been reported for a number
of households in the middle nineteenth century, and every house head is said to
have owned at least one. Chiefs' wives owned their own men and women slaves,
and slaves were assigned to attend the chief's children. Slaves were often given
to a bride as a dowry from her father.

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

The emphasis of Northwest Coast tribes has been on the prestige value of
their slaves and the use of them to represent wealth in the potlatches, where
they were presented as gifts or killed as a conspicuous display of riches. Men
boasted about the number they owned, or gave away and killed but no chief boasted
of the number of man-hours either his clansmen or his slaves had spent to get
the wealth together for a potlatch. It was not a part of the culture pattern
to dwell on the time or labor involved. The boasting was rather on the prowess,
cunning, and cleverness of the man who had provided his guests with such spec–
tacular entertainment and display of goods. Ethnologists have taken the Indians'
emphasis on the prestige value of slaves as a true picture of their importance
and have neglected the collection of factual data regarding the economic role of
slavery. In households of from ten to twenty-five free people, two slaves must
have been productively important, while fifteen would materially contribute to
the accumulated wealth of their owners, even though there were no specific kinds
of work reserved for slaves alone. Men slaves paddled canoes on sea hunting and
fishing expeditions, saving their masters' strength for the productive part of
the trip. They also helped with fishing and there is little reason to suppose
that their catch was less than that of a free man. Slave men out and packed
meat on a hunt, supplied the home and smokehouse with wood, and did many monoton–
ous but necessary tasks. Women assisted their mistresses in daily tasks. Since
all reports agree that slaves wore cast-off clothing, ate left-overs and slept
on worn-out bedding in the coldest part of the house, they must certainly have
consumed very little. They themselves were wealth and could be converted into
negotiable commodities of lesser values or given away at potlatches, often to
chiefs who would later return more than equal value to the donor. Unlike blankets
or copper shields, slaves earned the owner a dividend until such time as he was

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

ready to dispose of them profitably. He also got the same prestige value from
owning them that he did from other valuable commodities.
Class and kinship distinctions, fundamental in Tlingit and Haida social
structure, stimulated intense interest in lineage history, both actual and
legendary. Many of the folk tales and myths belonged exclusively to certain
house groups and explained their origin and the experiences of their ancestors.
Adventures and exploits of living members also became a part of the body of
folk tale. Tales were retold at every public festivity, not just as simple
narratives, but with many dramatic devices to make them interesting and remem–
bered. The dramatic effect was often heightened by masked and costumed actors,
stage settings and properties, and instrumental and choral music. Parts of a
narrative were told, other parts were acted out mimetically or in dancing ac–
companied by drum rhythms. Traditional songs were an integral part of many
legends and were usually sung by a chorus of women. Unusual, amusing, or ex–
citing experiences were also incorporated as dramatic productions. Successful
raids, contacts with outsiders, escape from a storm or a bear, all provided
material for the talents of composers, dancers, stage set designers, and story
tellers.
The main occasions for dramatic presentation were the commemorative pot–
latches given by house heads in honor of their predecessors, the raising of
totem or mortuary poles, and the dedication of new houses. Other opportunities
included marriage ceremonies, coming-out parties for chiefs' daughters, ceremon–
ies for piercing the ears of both boys and girls or of tattooing them with clan
crests.
Whatever the purpose of the affair, it was sponsored and planned by a house
head, financed and supported by relatives in his house group, and sometimes by

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

members of related houses as well. Commemorative potlatches wore usually
supported by the larger group. Guests were members of the opposite moiety, the
number depending on the resources of the host and the amount of food and goods
he was able to accumulate. House heads of the host's moiety from other vil–
lages were issued special invitations if they did not belong to the same clan
as the host. Men often spent several years preparing for a potlatch.
One important function of the potlatches was the recounting of hereditary
property of the house group, together with the circumstances under which it
had been acquired. At a commemorative potlatch during which the successor
was formally installed in the position, he, in effect, made an inventory of
all the hereditary property for which he was now custodian, explained his
right to it, and took occasion to glorify his ancestors. It was a dramatic
and living pageant of legend and history.
Many myths and myth motifs of the Northwest Coast area are shared with
their immediate neighbors and some of them are to be found over the greater
part of western North America and in northeast Asia. Most of them explain
the origin of the earth and the establishment of a livable environment, a
culture hero playing an important role. Most of the characters are supernat–
ural beings or animals and humans with supernatural attributes,
In the complex socio-economic systems of the Northwest Coast Indians the
mythology has been elaborated to explain secret societies, noble birth, prop–
erty rights and prerogatives of the wealthy, and many other developments of
Northwest ideology. One of the chief traits of Tlingit and Haida myths is
identification of many of them with certain lineages or clans. These follow
the general myth pattern of the area even though they are related as personal
experiences of ancestors and are given definite locales. Several Tlingit clans

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

claim the grizzly bear because their ancestor, Kats, married a grizzly. From
this tale crests, songs, and personal and house names, and the dramatic per–
formances connected with them have been derived. Even the widely told tales
included in the Raven cycle are clan property. Incidents in the adventures
of Raven belong to different house groups, though the cycle as a whole is
identified with the Raven moiety. The story of the Flood is another example.
According to the Tlingit tale, their whole area was flooded and survivors
escaped to mountain tops. Each lineage or clan indentifies a certain peak as
the refuge of its ancestors whose experiences were different from those of
people stranded on other peaks. Therefore, each lineage or clan has its own
Flood story.
The core of Tlingit and Kaigani religious belief was that all things ani–
mate, and many inanimate objects and natural phenomena, were endowed with super–
natural attributes. Each "tribe" in the animal kingdom had a supernatural
chief or leader whose favor must be sought by human beings who needed food,
and skins for clothing. In the myth age these supernaturals had revealed the
laws of the spiritual world to ancestors or they were transmitted to men by
the culture hero. Men were aided by supernaturals and also punished by them.
Sometimes aid was unsought, but it was much more usual for men to seek assist–
ance and favor of guardian spirits.
The belief in guardian spirit powers, and their acquisition as necessary
for successful living, was widespread over North America and in northeast Asia.
Common elements in the procedure for acquiring power or spirit aides included
ceremonial cleansing through fasting, bathing, taking of an emetic or other
body purifier, and withdrawal from other people who might contaminate the
seeker. Solitary vigil in a spot remote from human habitations prepared the

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

novice for an emotional experience in which he received tangible evidence of
contact with the spirit. The seeker usually received a dance, songs, and
powers according to the kind of spirit sought. Under its influence he was
impelled to dance, sing, and perform magical acts, always in the presence of
an audience and with the assistance of others who had received power. Accord–
ing to the belief of most tribes, anyone who earnestly desired spirit aid would
be successful. A widespread corollary belief was that spirits sometimes select–
ed individuals for favor without effort on their part.
On the Northwest Coast, especially among Kwakiutl, Haida, Tsimshian, and
Tlingit tribes, the guardian spirit quest was not a voluntary seeking by every–
one, but became a highly formalized procedure limited to those wealthy enough
to sponsor a potlatch. Many spirit powers were totemistic — guardians who
had revealed themselves to an ancestor or ancestress and therefore belonged
to the descendants. Others were the exclusive prerogatives of chiefs and were
inherited by their heirs. Inheritance, either by chiefs or lineage members,
was not automatic, but involved ritual preparation, magical contact with the
power or its manifestations, magical disappearance and reappearance under the
influence of the power, dancing, and ritual removal of the influence. Initia–
tion was carried out under supervision, with the novice carefully coached.
The whole was planned as a dramatic performance. Since the expense of an in–
itiation was heavy, a house head took the prerogative for himself or selected
members of his lineage for the honor. Only a few were initiated and women
never received the more important powers.
The secret societies of their southern neighbors reached the Tlingit and
Haida only as inheritable prerogatives of chiefs who initiated members of their
lineages. There were no real societies; only dances performed by eligible in–
dividuals. Traditions relate that these rights were originally acquired by

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

purchase from owners in neighboring tribes, mainly from the Tsimshian, and
the Kwakiutl of Vancouver Island. A man could come under the influence of a
spirit only if he or one of his ancestors had acquired the right. Women were
seldom initiated.
The only individuals who could rise from the ranks of commoners by ac–
quiring powerful spirits were the shamans. One who wished to follow the pro–
fession apprenticed himself to a shaman to learn the technique of controlling
spirits, or set about the arduous task of acquiring aides by himself. Occa–
sionally the spirts selected a man without his desiring them or even against
his wishes. He must accept the call on penalty of death. Training was long
and trying, for the spirits sought by shammans were dangerous and not easily
brought, or kept, under control. The rivalry between shamans was even more
intense than between chiefs, the shamans sending their spirit aides to destroy
each other. Shamans' aides sometimes fought among themselves, endangering the
lives of shamans and others as well. Shamans were regarded with fear and re–
spect — fear of the aides which, though invisible, were known to linger about
a shaman's person, and respect for his ability to cure disease and prevent mis–
fortune. Shamans usually lived apart from other people and took little part
in the daily life of the community. Though they could and did become wealthy,
rivaling the richest chiefs in influence, the calling did not attract many in–
dividuals.
There were minor hunting, fishing, and wealth powers which could be sought
by any man, but these generally lacked the emotional experience of the quest
and the prestige of the inherited prerogatives. Success was expected to follow
a program of rigid training, which included daily salt-water bathing, a vigor–
ous rubdown with hemlock twigs, fasting, and continence. The trainee continued

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

until he felt capable of accomplishing the task he had set for himself. If
he were not successful he repeated the training with more attention to the
routine, or concluded that the spirits were against him and gave up. The
theme of the poor orphan or abandoned boy who possessed magical powers with–
out having to seek them or train for them, and who became a wealthy chief
through their use is an understandably popular one in Northwest Coast folk
tales. There are usually two women in such tales, whose roles highlight the
fact that powerful spirits were usually acquired only by men. One of the women
is an elderly grandmother or aunt who starts the boy on his training and helps
him until he has demonstrated his power. She then disappears from the story.
The other is the modest, well-bred daughter of a great chief whom the hero
chooses as his bride.
Eyak
The Eyak was a small tribe of only one hundred and seventeen persons when
the Russians took a census in 1818. One hundred and fifty-four were listed in
the American census report of 1890 and only thirty-eight who counted themselves
as Eyak were found in 1933. They speak a Nad e é n e é language.
Eyak territory extended from Cordova Bay, inside the eastern edge of
Prince William Sound, to Cape Martin, and included the Copper River Delta and
the valley as far north as Childs and Miles glaciers. Atna Athapascans claimed
the valley above the glaciers. To the west of the Eyak were Eskimo villages
on the mainland and islands. The Tlingit were their eastern neighbors on the
coast.
The only systematic work that has been done on the Eyak is summarized by
Drs. Kaj Birket-Smith and Frederica de Laguna in The Eyak Indians of the Copper
River Delta, Alaska,
published in 1938. In addition to field work they examined

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

all available references to the group from the time of the Russian expansion.
They conclude, "Eyak culture must be characterized principally as a Northwest
Coast culture with a somewhat old-fashioned stamp, modified to a certain degree
by recent Tlingit influence, contact with their Eskimo neighbors, and their
proximity to the Asiatic continent. This rather strongly supports the supposi–
tion that the Eyak have occupied their coastal habitat for a very long period —
indeed there is no evidence of immigration from any other region at all." (p.530)
The Eyak were mainly fishermen, with fresh and dried salmon the staple
food. Most of the salmon fishing was done in the shallow waters of the Copper
River Delta, from the first of May to the end of September. Herring were caught
in the spring and dried or made into oil. Hair seals were hunted throughout
the year when they congregated on rocks, sand bars, or on the ice. Seal oil
was an important food and the skins were made into clothing. Women gathered
berries in season and shellfish throughout the year. Mountain goats and bears
were the main land animals hunted for their skins as well as meat. Halibut
were caught in winter as well as during the summer, but the Eyak were not skilled
seamen. Occasionally they hunted in skin boats purchased from the Eskimos, but
most of their transportation was in dugout canoes of small size, confined to
the wide, shallow river delta and to protected waters close to shore.
The Eyak occupied two main permanent villages, Eyak and Alaganik, where
they lived in gable-roofed homes with planked walls and roofs, the latter covered
with bark. Their homes were smaller and less elaborately furnished than those
of the Tlingit. In each village were the larger houses, one belonging to each
moiety, which served as feast or potlatch houses and sheltered visitors. A
simple carved post topped with a figure of a raven or eagle stood in front of
each to identify the owners. In the summer many families moved to smokehouses
or temporary shelters at the fish camps.

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

The organization of the Eyak for supplying themselves with the all–
important salmon was very simple. There was no family, moiety, or village
ownership of rights to fishing or hunting grounds, and the people congregated
wherever the fish were most plentiful. Two men usually fished together, one
handling a spear or dip basket, the other caring for the salmon as caught. In
a few hours they could catch enough to keep several women busy all day cutting
and hanging fish to dry, hence the work parties were small. The fishing and
hunting methods were suitable for a tiny population with a subsistence level
of economy, but not for the accumulation and storying of quantities of surplus
foods. It is significant that most potlatches, feasts, and entertainment were
held during the summer when fresh foods were abundant.
The Eyak had little trade for luxuries or goods that they could not produce.
The Atna took sea foods in exchange for skins of land animals and copper. The
latter was bartered to the Tlingit, who, however, preferred to trade directly
with the Atna.
Shamans were the only specialists supported by Eyak economy, though chiefs
did little manual labor. Shamans' needs were supplied by food and goods re–
ceived as fees. There were no professional artists since wood carving and
painting were limited to simple grave markers, a carved figure in front of each
potlatch house, and a few properties used in dramas. Women wove baskets and
embroidered porcupine quill and bead designs on clothing. The crafts offered
little opportunity for technical or artistic skills. Tlingit designs were used
by both men and women to ornament wooden articles and baskets.
In their social organization the Eyak resembled the Tlingit more than
their Eskimo or Atna neighbors. They were divided into two exogamous, matri–
lineal moieties: the Eagles and Ravens. Included in each moiety was a group

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

of Tlingit from Katalla who joined the Eyak before the coming of the Russins.
Both moieties were represented in each village, but there were no named house
groups or clans.
An hereditary chief headed each moiety and one of them was regarded as the
chief of the tribe, though the latter position was not hereditary. Each house
was presided over by a sub-chief or leader. These men were subordinate to their
moiety chief, who was also head of a house. Chieftainship was hereditary with–
in the moiety, with a brother normally succeeding. Women were never chosen
even though the male line became extinct.
Since house groups did not own resource areas or ceremonial property, and,
since most of the personal effects of a deceased man were destroyed, a chief
had little opportunity to accumulate wealth to administer or to manipulate for
his own benefit.
Effects not burned at the commemorative potlatch were given as gifts to
the members of the opposite moiety, who then returned to the heir gifts of
equal or greater value. Since a man who gave away too many of his predecessor's
possessions was considered greedy there was a cultural brake which prevented
him from accumulating too much. The heir was expected to distribute food,
blankets, and other goods to guests invited to the commemorative potlatch. In
addition he had to pay those who cared for the body and took charge of funeral
services. Though he received assistance from members of his own moiety, he
contributed the larger share. A new chief, therefore, usually started his
career with his personal wealth depleted by funeral and feast expenses and was
dependent on his followers to help him build up a small surplus. From them he
received a part of everything they caught or acquired and he directed their
economic activities. His younger brothers and nephews were especially obligated

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

to work exclusively for him. The Eyak chiefs organized and directed raiding
parties and divided the greater share of the plunder.
Chiefs distributed food to the poor and provided for their followers
during seasons of scarcity or famine. Chiefs were usually paternalistic and
only occasionally despotic.
Eyak class distinctions were not so sharply drawn as were those of the
Tlingit. Chiefs, their families, sisters, and sisters' children constituted
the upper class. Women derived status from the fact that they and their
mothers were the daughters, wives, or sisters of chiefs. Hereditary right
to chieftainship, to own slaves, contract polygamous marriages, and to receive
contributions from their followers comprised the main advantages of the upper
class over commoners.
Captives taken in raids were sometimes kept and became the slaves of their
captors, but the Eyak do not seem to have bought slaves, nor were they presented
as potlatch gifts. Slaves were occasionally traded, but one was worth much
less than a canoe. A chief who owned two was looked upon as wealthy. When
an owner died his slaves were liberated, hence were not inheritable wealth.
A slave was never killed when his owner died, though he might be if the son
or daughter of the chief died. Compared to the Tlingit, Eyak slaves were of
slight economic importance and could not have produced much more than their
own subsistence.
The feast or potlatch house of each moiety was the center of social life
in an Eyak village. Here services in memory of those slain in battle, and com–
memorative potlatches for deceased relatives were held. When a new house was
built the moiety owning it joined forces and gave as large and elaborate a dedi–
cation as they could afford, inviting thei r Tlingit neighbors as well as members

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

of the opposite moiety from Eyak villages. The chief of the moiety acted
as host and organized the festivities.
Guests were entertained and instructed by dramas acted out by masked
and costumed dancers, accompanied by drum and choral music. Narratives of
tribal legendary and historical events were presented and the affair usually
ended with games, sports, and entertainment which were not looked upon as a
part of the potlatch. Shamans demonstrated their curing abilities and exhib–
ited their spiritual powers, which they challenged their rivals to excell.
On the whole the mythology of the Eyak is more closely connected to the
Northwest Coast than to Eskimo, though a few tales, such as transformer–
creator myths of the type of the Raven cycle, show affinity to northeast Asia.
The mythology of the Eyak, however, contains no allusions to moieties, suggest–
ing that the moiety organization is relatively late. Tales explaining origin
and property rights of house groups are absent and the identification of myths
with particular lineages does not occur. As a consequence, lineage crests and
the elaborate art representation and dramatization of them, developed by the
Tlingit, are also absent. Tales reflect some aspects of ordinary social life,
though in exaggerated and imaginative form, and many of them describe exper–
iences of men with animals or their supernatural, spiritual counterparts, men
who are tribal ancestors or who lived long before there was an Eyak tribe.
A fundamental concept in Eyak religion is the belief that all things,
animate or inanimate, have spiritual "owners" or leaders, a concept which
they share with many other tribes in northwest North America. For successful
living man must establish rapport with these spiritual beings, and many of the
rules for the treatment of food animals, the taboos connected with hunting,
fishing, and food preparation are means of maintaining friendly relations. The

EA-Anthrop. Garfield: Indians of Southeastern Alaska

vision quest or dream experience as a source of manifestation of power by
means of which an individual can gain success seems only slightly developed
by the Eyak. Shamans seem to be the only persons who sought spirit helpers
or who received them through dreams. A man or woman might have a dream ex–
perience that foretold shamanistic power. After fasting, bathing, and puri–
fication the novice then went into the woods in solitude to meet the spirit
or some manifestation of it. Successful shamans usually had number of spirit
helpers whose aid was sought in curing disease, foretelling future events, and
even in the killing of rival sharans and other enemies. The shaman worked
through a seance in which he enlisted the aid of his spirit helpers, who
sometimes went on missions for him and sometimes directed him in the procedure
to be followed.
Viola E. Garfield

Alaska, Athapaskans

EA-Anthropology
(Robert McKennan)

ALASKA, ATHAPASKANS

CONTENTS
Page
Culture 2
Physical Type 7
Tribes and Their Territories 7
Population and Present Condit ion 14
Bibliography 16

EA-Anthropology
(Robert McKennan)

ALASKA, ATHAPASKANS
The Athapaskan tribes of Alaska together with those of the Mackenzie
River rainage of Canada constitute the northern branch of the far-flung
Athapaskan linguistic family, the two other important branches being:
( 1 ) the southwestern (Navaho and Apache); and ( 2 ) the Pacific Coast (Hupa,
Kato, Umpqua, and several other small tribes in northern California and
southern Oregon). Sapir, the cutstanding student of the Athapaskan language,
has suggested that it should be combined with the Tlingit and Haida of the
Alaskan Coast into a single linguistic family, the Na-Den e é , which he believes
is in turn related to the Tibeto-Chinese-Siamese family of Asiatic languages.
With the exception of the Tansina of Cooks Inlet and the Eyak of the
Copper River Delta, all the Athapakan tribes of Alaska live in the interior;
conversely, all the tribes of the Alaskan interior are Athapaskan speaking.
All inhabit a subarctic forest environment and secure their livelihood by
hunting, fishing, and, since the advent of the white man, by trapping. Of
the food animals the caribou is easily the most important, supplemented in
the lowlands by the moose and in the mountains by the mountain sheep. Salmon
is far and away the most important fish and the presence of this important
food resource sets off the culture of most of the Alaskan Athapaskans from
that of the Mackenzie drainage. The salmon runs, however, do not reach the

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Alaska, Athapaskans

upper waters of the Tanana and Chandalar rivers whose natives therefore
depend for their subsistence almost entirely upon hunting.
Culture
Certain common elements feature the aboriginal culture of most of the
Alaskan Athapaskans. Caribou were chased into long corrals and then snared
or killed with bows and arrows; various snares and deadfalls were used for
taking other game. Fish were taken in cylindrical traps and in nets of
woven bark; the natives have only recently borrowed the fish wheel from the
white man. Clothes were made of tanned skins or twined from strips of rabbit
skin; and the moccasins and trousers were often of one piece. Also hoods were
often attached to the shirts, which, in the case of the men, had pointed tails.
Although house types varied among the different tribes, the skin-covered domed
lodge, the bark-covered rectangular hut, and the double lean-to were the most
prevalent types. Log houses, sometimes semisubterranean, were also used by
the salmon-fishing tribes of the lower Yukon and the coast. Fire was produced
by means of either flint and iron pyrites or by a cord drill using a piece
of fungus as a hearth. Food was either roasted over the fire or boiled in
birch bark vessels by means of hot stones. Among several of the Alaskan
tribes the cooking was done by the men. Showshoes were vital for winter
travel, and were of the bowed, two-piece type. Baggage was hauled on either
toboggans or double-ended sleds, but not until the coming of the white man
were dogs harnessed to such conveyances. Water travel was by means of light–
weight birch bark canoes; large skin-covered boats were used for carrying
heavy loads. Children were carried in a hod-shaped birch bark cradle peculiar
to the Alaskan Athapaskans. Stone adzes were used rather than axes. Other

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Alaska Athapaskans

important tools included: stone mauls; crooked knives of bone; copper knives
of bone; copper daggers with flaring Y-shaped handles; thin, moon-shaped
slate knives used by the women; and bone awls. Birch bark and babiche were
favorite materials; the latter not only was used for all manner of bindings
but also was twisted and braided into a wide variety of cords. Art work
was not highly developed although some use was made of dyed porcupine quills.
With the coming of the white trader these were replaced by beads. Dentalium
shells, secured by trade from the coast tribes, were much prized for personal
adorenment. Tattooing of the face, confined to the women among most of the
tribes, was generally accomplished by the needle and thread method. War,
which was little more than vendetta, was featured by stealth, trickery,
hand-to-hand fighting, and some crude forms of armor. Drums of the tambourine
type constituted the only musical instruments, but singing and dancing were
common. Both songs and dances were quite individualistic and varied greatly
from group to group. In general they were associated with ceremonial occasions.
All of the Alaskan Athapaskans appear to have possessed some kind of clan
organization, the exact details of which are no longer clear to the natives
themselves. Clan membership was reckoned in the maternal line and marriages
could be made only with someone outside the clan. The Yukon tribes were
divided into three clans. Other Alaskan Athapaskans appear to have possessed
only two, but often these were divided in turn into a number of sub-clans.
Unlike the Tlingit clans of the coast, the Athapaskan clans were not totemic
although some of the Yukon ones were identified with animals, particularly
with the caribou and bear. The clans were regarded as large, consanguineous
families and in times of need a native would look to his fellow clansmen for
aid. In addition to his fellow clansmen every man could turn for aid to a

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Alaskan Athapaskans

"partner." This formalized partnership or bond fellowship system system
was widespread among all the Alaskan Athapaskans. Rights and duties between
partners were reciprocal. They included, among other things, a careful
division of all game killed, with the choice parts going to one's partner.
A man was permitted several wives, who quite often were sisters. Although
there was no formal bride purchase, the prospective husband customarily secured
her as a result of gifts and services to her parents. For the first few years
after marriage the young couple lived with the girl's parents. Divorce was
easy, although it does not appear to have been particularly common.
Childbirth took place in a hut especially constructed for the purpose,
and a neighboring woman served as midwife. The mother and father were subject
to a host of tabus and restrictions, particularly as to their food and drink,
both before and for a considerable period after the child's birth. While the
birth rate appears to have been high among the Alaskan Athapaskans, a high
infant mortality rate together with the hardships of a subarctic existence
resulted in relatively small families. Children were seldom punished but in
spite of this lack of formal discipline they were obedient and well-behaved.
Menstruation was regarded as a critical period for a woman, particularly the
first menses, and at this time she was compelled to live in a special menstrual
hut, avoid gazing upon men or upon the sun, refrain from eating fresh meat,
take her drinking water only through a bone tube, and observe many other tabus
of a similar nature. In the old days the Alaskan Athapaskans cremated their
dead together with the deceased's personal property. Since the coming of the
white man burial has replaced cremation and a small house is generally built
over the grave.
All of the Alaskan Athapaskans set great store by the potpatch, ? a

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Alaskan Athapaskans

giving-away feast, often in honor of a dead relative. While the Athapaskan
potpatch was not governed by the same elaborate rules that prevailed among
the Northwest Coast tribes, nevertheless it was an extremely important part
of the native social and ceremonial life. With the growth of the fur trade,
potpatched became more extravagant; woven blankets and other trade goods
replaced the former gifts of skins; and on occasion as much as $20,000 worth
of goods might change hands at a single potpatch. The potlatch also pro–
vided a means by which the successful hunter or trapper could call attention
to his success. The tribal head-man or village leader was usually the Indian
who had given the most frequent and elaborate potlatches. Such head-men had
little real power, and their position was not hereditary. However, with the
development of the fur trade came the first faint beginnings of a class system
based on wealth, and this was most evident among those Alaskan Athapaskans
such as the Tanaina, Ahtena, and Eyak who were in close contact with the
class-conscious Tlingit tribes.
The native religious beliefs and practices centered around shamanism.
The shaman or medicine man was believed to possess special spiritual power
which he secured by means of dreams. This power was most commonly used to
cure sickness. Since sickness was believed to be the result of some evil
spirit which had gotten into one's body, treatment consisted of getting this
spirit out again and was accomplished by such means as sucking on the afflicted
part, blowing, exorcising — the exact method varying with the individual
medicine man. Shamans were also believed to possess the power to bring mis–
fortune, illness, or even death and hence were much feared. They likewise
were credited with powers of divination although the latter were also attri–
buted to many ordinary individuals as well. In addition to shamanism the

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Alaskan Athapaskans

native religious life featured a host of tabus, many of which clustered
around such critical occasions as childbirth, puberty, menstruation, giving
a potpatch, hunting, and fishing. Certain beliefs appear to have been
general among the Alaskan Athapaskans: the fear of a bogey-man or "Brush
Indian" who hovered about camps; the belief in a rade of manlike monsters
with tails who formerly inhabited the area; a reverence for both the dog and
the otter with the result that the Indians were reluctant to k e i ll these
animals. In addition to a number of miscellaneous folk tales, the native
mythology contained at least two distinct cycles of myths. One cycle dealt
with the adventure of typical Indian culture here and the other centered
around the exploits of an anthropomorphised Raven. As might be expected, the
latter cycle shows many similarities to the Raven myths of the Northwest
Coast tribes.
Much of the culture that has been described for the Alaskan Athapaskans
would hold equally well for the Athapakans of the Mackenzie drainage. However,
the Alaskan culture shows many items which are not found on the eastern side
of the mountains. Some of these are probably the result of diffusion from the
Northwest Coast tribes, e.g., armor, emphasis on wealth, the Raven myths.
Other traits peculiar to the Alaskan Athapaskans, such as exogenous matrilineal
clans and the potpatch system, may possibly have had their origin with the
Northwest coast tribes, although this is not necessarily the case. In any
event, most of the traits which set off the culture of the Alaskan Athapaskans
from that of the Mackenzie River tribes do not appear to have been borrowed
from any of the former's neighbors. Such traits include, among others, the
following: domed lodge; sitting cradle; bowed two-piece snowshoe; two-piece
cap; double-ended sled; cremation; cooking by the men. All in all the culture

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Alaskan Athapaskans

of the Alaskan Athapaskans is definitely both richer and more complex than
that of the Mackenzie River tribes.
Physical Type
Although the data are scanty, this dichotomy between Mackenzie River
and Yukon River Athapaskans appears to characterize the physical types as
well. The few available anthropometric series indicate that the Alaskan
Athapaskans are somewhat above average height, are slightly brachycephalic,
barely mesorrhine, relatively light in skin color, and somewhat more hirsute
than most Indians. Unpublished material for the Upper Tanana and the Nedse–
kutchin of the Chandalar River, reveal the blood type to be consistently
Type O. The Mackenzie River tribes, if measurements for the Chipewyan can be
considered as typical, are shorter in stature, narrower headed, broader nosed,
and in general closer to the Eskimo physical type.
Tribes And Their Territories
With the exception of the Kutchin tribes who not only had a distinctive
dialect, but also appear to have had a fairly well developed sense of ethnic
unity, the other Alaskan groups possessed so little sense of group unity that
the term tribe is a misnomer. This lack of tribal consciousness finds reflec–
tion in the absence of any political organization. The frequent shifting of
hunting territories, moving of village sites, and both mergings and splittings
of bands are all factors that make the assignment of a given territory to a
so-called tribe only approximate at best. The problem is further complicated
by the various and sometimes conflicting tribal names used by the early explorers.
The designations most generally used by anthropologists are as follows: Kutchin,
with the various subdivisions; Hans; Tanana; Upper Tanana or Nabesna; Koyukon;

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Alaskan Athapaskans

Ingalik; Tanaina; Ahtena; Eyak. While their culture is basically the same,
each of these groups possesses its own distinctive dialect. These cialects
in turn fall into at least three main groups: ( 1 ) the Kutchin language
which is definitely set off from the others; ( 2 ) the Ingalik and the Tanaina
which together form a second linguistic division; ( 3 ) the remaining dialects
which constitute one or perhaps more separate groups.
Kutchin. Probably the least confusion surrounds the Kutchin tribes.
Originally these Indians inhabited the Yukon Flats together with the main
tributaries of this middle section of the Yukon, including Birch Creek and
the Dall, Chandalar, Poroupine, and Black rivers. In addition they overlapped
into Canada, inhabiting both the Mackenzie Flats and the Peel River drainage.
The Kutchin tribes and their approximate locations are as follows:
Dihaikutchin - North fork of the Chandalar and middle and wouth forks of the
upper Koyukuk; now extinct, this group may have been the Teahinkutchin men–
tioned by Gibbs and Ross. Nedsekutchin - East fork of Chandalar River;
Tennuthkutchin - Birch Creek. Now extinct, Kutchakutchin - Yukon Flats.
Virtually extinct, Tranjikkutchin - Black River; Vuntakutochin - Middle
Porcupine and Crow rivers; Takkuthkutchin - Upper Porcupine River; Tatlitkutchin
Peel River; Nakotchokutchin - Mackenzie Flats.
Representatives from most of these groups now make their homes in the
large native village of Fort Yukon, to which trading center most of the
Alaskan Kutchin bring their furs.
Han. The valley of the Yukon immediately above that of the Vuntakutchin
was inhabited by a group called the Han. These people have sometimes been
classed as another Kutchin tribs; but this is definitely not the case, nor
do they speak a Kutchin dialect. Culturally and linguistically the Han

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Alaskan Athapaskans

probably are most similar to their neighbors to the west, the Upper Tanana,
and to the various Tutchone bands which inhabit the basin of the upper Yukon.
The remnants of the Han are to be found today in the native settlements
at Eagle, Alaska, and Moosehide, Y.T.
Upper Tanana and Tanana . With the exception of the Upper Tanana who
inhabit the upper basin of the Tanana River, including its two main tribu–
taries, the Chisana and the Nabesna rivers, not too much is known concerning
the Tanana Indians. While there has been a tendency to lump all of them
together in a single group, This is erroneous. The Indians of the upper
Tanana, most of whom are now to be found in the native villages of Tetlin
and Northway, regard themselves as a separate group from the natives who
live farther down the river at Tanana Crossing, Mansfield Lake, and Healy
Lake. This second or middle division of the Tanana River Indians appears
to have been quite similar to the Ahtena of the Copper River in language and
culture.
The exact territories of the native groups inhabiting the Tanana valley
below the mouth of Healy River are uncertain. The influx of miners following
the discovery of gold near Fairbanks in 1903 seriously dislocated the Indians
inhabiting the lower half of the Tanana River. It would appear, however, that
originally these constituted one or more separate divisions of the Tanana
group and inhabited the territory form the Salchaket River to the mouth of
the Tanana, including, perhaps, the region about Lake Minchumina. Today the
remnant e ts of this third division are largely concentrated at Fairbanks,
Nanana, Tanana, and Steven's Village, the latter a native settlement on the
Yukon above its con f luence with the Tanana. Although detailed information is
lacking, there is reason to believe that in language and culture these Indians

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Alaskan Athapaskans

of the lower Tanana River are closer to the Koyukon of the Yukon River than
to the upper Tanana group.
Koyukon. From the mouth of the Tanana River to Anvik the Yukon valley
is inhabited by an Athapaskan group variously called the Koyukon, Ten's and
Khotana, the first two terms being the more used. According to the early
explorers on the Yukon the Koyukon family consisted of three major divisions:
( 1 ) the Yukonikhotana, who occupied the Yukon drainage from the mouth of the
Tanana to the mouth of the Koyukuk River; ( 2 ) the Koyukukhotana, who occupied
the drainage of the Koyukuk River; and ( 3 ) the Kaiyuhkhotana, who occupied the
Yukon drainage from the mouth of the Koyukuk nearly to Anvik, including the
Innoko River above Shageluk Slough and the Kaiyuh Hills. Within the last
fifty years these groups have tended to coalesce so that the original divisions
are exceedingly blurred. Most of the Koyukuk valley has been vacated to the
Eskimos. Many formerly populous villages along the Yukon such as Louden and
Kokrines have been abandoned and the bulk of the natives today are to be
found in the Yukon River villages of Galena, Koyukuk, Nulato, and Kaltag.
Here the Indians spend the summer, supporting themselves largely by fishing;
during the winter months many families repair to their hunting and trapping
camps in the country back from the river.
Ingalik . From Anvik to Holy Cross the Yukon valley and the adjacent
territory of the Kuskokwim valley is inhabited by the northern Athapaskan
group called the Ingalik. Below Holy Cross the population changes from Indian
to Eskimo, and the Holy Cross population of something over 200 natives consists
of members of both groups. The Ingalik have been divided into four major
subdivisions as follows: ( 1 ) the Anvik-Shageluk group centering about the
two villages of the same name; ( 2 ) the Bonasila village group; ( 3 ) the Holy

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Alaskan Athapaskans

Cross-Georgetown group centering about the aforenamed villages; and ( 4 ) the
McGrath group occupying the drainage of the upper Kuskokwim River. Although
the Ingalik environment and general manner of living is quite similar to that
of the Koyukon, their language is closer to that of the Tanaina, their Atha–
paskan neighbors to the southeast. As might be expected, Ingalik culture
contains many Eskimo traits, including: semisubterranean winter houses; the
kashim or men's house; harpoon; spear thrower; clothing made of fishskin,
birdskin, or intestines; use of urine for both tanning and washing; urine
bowls and baskets; labrets; bladder ceremony. In physical type also the Ingalik
show clearly the effects of Eskimo admixture, particularly in the high incidence
of longer heads, heavier jaws, and more prominent cheekbones than those of other
Alaskan Athapaskans.
Tanaina. The Tanaina, sometimes called the Knaiakhotana, Kenai-tena, or
simply the Kenai, inhabit the region immediately to the southeast of the Ingalik;
namely, all the drainage of Cook Inlet north of the town of Seldovia, together
with the upper half of Iliamna Lake including the Clark Lake area. Osgood,
who has made an intensive study of these people, subdivides them into seven
fairly distinct groups as follows: ( 1 ) Kachemak Bay or Lower Inlet; ( 2 )Kenai
Area or Middle Inlet; ( 3 ) Knik or Upper Inlet; ( 4 ) Susitna River; ( 5 ) Tyonek
Area or West Coast of Cook Inlet; ( 6 ) Iliamna Lake; ( 7 ) Clark Lake.
Linguistically the Tanaina are closely related to their neighbors to the
north, the Ingalik, and like the latter their culture contains some Eskimo
traits. The fact that most of the Tanaina live adjacent to the sea likewise
sets off their culture from the Athapaskans of the interior. This maritime
influence is particularly marked on their food habits and related technology
which includes such unAthapaskan items as seal hunting with kayaks and harpoons,

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Alaskan Athapaskans

use of shellfish, candlefish, and other salt water fauna. Because of this
dependence on the sea the difference between the coastal Tanaina and those
of the interior, such as the Susitna and Upper Inlet groups, is quite marked.
The culture of the latter more nearly resembles that of their neighbors in
the interior, the Tanana and the Ahtena. As is the case among the latter
tribes, the potpatch ceremony constitutes an important part of the Tanaina
socio-religious life. Beginning with the visit of Captain James Cook in 1778
followed by the Russian occupation of the region, the Tanaina have been subjected
to almost continuous European influences with resultant demoralization and loss
of much of their old culture. The building of the Alaska Railroad and the
great growth of Anchorage has no doubt hastened this process. Earliest es–
timates placed the number of Tanaina at 3,000. Today there are perhaps 600.
Some [: ] of these hang about the outskirts of the modern centers of Anchorage,
Seward, and Seldovia; the remainder are largely concentrated in the native
settlements of Kenai, Tyonek, Iliamna, and Susitna.
Ahtena . The Ahtena or Atna inhabit the drainage of the Copper River above
the barrier of the Miles and Childs glaciers. Culturally they very much
resemble ( 1 ) the inland Tanaina groups; ( 2 ) the Tanana groups of the middle
river, specifically those now found at Tanana Crossing and Healy Lake; and
( 3 ) to a slightly less degree, the Indians of the upper Tanena. All three
groups were adjacent to the Ahtena, and the latter seem to have maintained
fairly constant trade and social relations with them.
The Russians made several attempts to penetrate the Ahtena territory,
but all of these were repulsed by the hostile natives. The final expedition,
that of Serebrannikov in 1848, resulted in the death of its leader and three
of his party. It was not until the exploring expedition of Lieut. Henry T.

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Alaskan Athapaskans

Allen, U.S.A., who journeyed to the Yukon in 1885 by way of the Copper
and Tanana rivers, that the upper valley of the Copper River was visited
by a white man. In spite of the failure of the Russians to establish them–
selves on the Copper River, it is quite possible that the Ahtena physical
type, as well as that of the Tanaina and Ingalik, who were long dominated by
the Russians, has been affected by some admixture with the whites. It is
possible also that the Ahtena practice, which they share with the Tanaina
and Kyak, of attaching a small sweat-room to the end of the log houses is
the result of Russian influence.
The a A htena have been divided into at least two sub-groups: ( 1 ) those
inhabiting the territory from the Miles and Childs glaciers to the mouth of
the Tazlina River, including the valley of the Chitina River which formerly
held a number of Indians; and ( 2 ) those inhabiting the upper Copper River.
While undoubtedly there has been considerable mingling of these two divisions,
today remnants of the first are largely concentrated in the villages of
Chitina and Copper Center, while remnants of the second are to be found in
the native settlements of Gulkana, Gakona, Chistochina, Batzuluetas, and
Mentasta.
Eyak. It is only recently that the Eyak of the Copper River Delta have
been recognized as belonging to the Athapaskan family. The early explorers,
both English and Russian, considered them as constituting either a southeastern
group of the Prince William Sound Eskimo or a westerly group of the Yakutat
Tlingit. Such confusion is quite understandable, since the Eyak culture con–
tains many Eskimo and Tlingit features. However, recent studies by Drs. Birket–
Smith and de Laguna of the remnants of the Eyak now dwelling on the outskirts
of Cordova have demonstrated that the Eyak are Athapaskan both in language and

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Alaskan Athapaskans

in basic culture. The Eyak culture to be sure lacks a number of elements
typical of the Athapaskans of the interior, particularly toboggans, bark canoes,
bark baskets, and well-developed snowshoes. In addition to the effect of the
coastal habitat upon their manner of living, the Eyak culture clearly shows
the influence of their non-Athapaskan neighbors, the Eskimos along the coast
to the northwest and the Tlingit to the east. The Eyak were never a large
tribe and their territory was quite restricted, taking in the coast from Cordova
Bay on the west to Martin River on the eastern side of the delta of the Copper
River, and extending up that river to the Miles and Child glaciers. However,
it is possible that in prehistoric times they may have inhabited some of the
coast to the east later occupied by the Tlingit.
POPULATION AND PRESENT CONDITION
At the present time the Alaskan Athapaskans number approximately 5,000.
Although all tribes have suffered some diminution in numbers since white contact,
it is doubtful that their total numbers reached as much as 10,000 under abor–
iginal conditions. Since the coming of the white man infectious diseases have
taken a continuous toll and tuberculosis has become practically endemic among
all natives. At the present time this one disease is responsible for approxi–
mately 35 per cent of all deaths among Alaskan Athapaskans.
The reservation system has not been applied to hunting and fishing terri–
tories of the Alaskan Athapaskans, although in a few cases the actual territory
of the native village has been set off as an Indian Reservation to protect
the village site. The Department of the Interior through its office of Indian
Affairs maintains schools in most of the native settlements; but in many cases
the seminomadic nature of the natives makes regular sessions difficult. The

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Alaskan Athapaskans

Office of Indian Affairs also maintains several native hospitals in Alaska,
including one at Tanana, together with a system of visiting doctors, dentists,
and nurses who periodically visit each village. The educational and medical
services of the Department of the Interior are supplemented also by mission
work of the various churches. The Roman Catholic Church has been particularly
active among the Ingalik and Koyukon and maintains permanent missions at Holy
Cross and Nulato. The Protestant Episcopal Church is identified with the
Tanana and Kutchin groups; it maintains a native hospital at Fort Yukon, in
addition to permanent missions at Tanana Crossing, Nenana, and Tanana. The
Indian Reorganization Act is applicable to Alaskan natives and gradually some
of the larger Athapaskan settlements are incorporating themselves under its
provisions.

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Alaskan Athapaskans

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Allen, Henry T. Report of an Expedition to the Copper, Tanana, and Koyukuk
Rivers.
49th Congress, 2nd Session, Senate Executive Document,
No. 125. Washington, 1887.

2. Birket-Smith, Kaj, and de Laguna, Frederica. The Eyak Indians of the
Copper River Delta, Alaska.
Copenhagen, 1938.

3. Cadzow, Donald. "Habitat of Loucheux Bands", Indian Notes, Museum of the
American Indian, Heye Foundation, Vol.2, No.3, New York, 1925.

4. Dall, William H. "Tribes of the Extreme Northwest." Contributions to
North American Ethnology
, Vol.I, Part 1. Washington, 1877.

5 . Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology,
Bulletin 30, Parts 1 and 2. Washington, 1907, 1910.

6. Jette, Jules S.J., Various articles on the Ten's (Koyukon and Tanana), 1907–
1913.

7. McKennan, Robert. The Indians of the Upper Tanana, Alaska. (Ms.) and
field notes on other tribes.

8. Murray, Alexander H. Journal of the Yukon, 1847-48. Publications of
the Canadian Archives, No.4, Ottawa, 1910.

9. Osgood, Cornelius. The Ethnography of the Tanaina , and other monographs.
Yale University Publications in Anthropology, New Haven, 1931-1940.

10. Sapir, Edward. "The Na-Den e é Languages, A Preliminary Report". American
Anthropologist, Vol.17, n.s. Menasha, Wisc., 1915.

11. Scmitter, Ferdinand. "Upper Yukon Native Customs and Folklore", Smithsonian
[: ] Institution Miscellaneous Contributions, Vol.56, No.4,
Washington, 1910.

Robert McKennan

Canada, Athapaskans

EA-Anthropology
(Robert A. McKennan)

CANADA, ATHAPASKANS

CONTENTS
Page
Physical Type 4
Tribes and Their Territories 5
Population and Present Condition 14
Bibliography 16

EA-Anthropology
(Robert A. McKennan)

CANADA, ATHAPASKANS
The Athapaskan-speaking tribes of Canada lack the cultural homogeneity
which characterizes their Alaskan neighbors. Basically the tribal cultures
fall into two main division: ( 1 ) a western or Pacific type, and ( 2 ) an
eastern or Arctic one. The major characteristics of this western type of
northern Athapaskan culture have already been described for the Alaskan
Athapaskans. (cf. "ALASKA, ATHAPASKANS.") It is richer and more complex
than the culture of the Mackenzie River tribes, particularly as regards
social organization, ceremonial life, mythology, amusements, and house types.
Economically it is geared to the salmon as well as to the caribou. Environ–
mentally it is influenced by the mountain mass of the Rockies, so much so
that Jenness has classified the Athapaskan cultures of western Canada to–
gether with those of the interior Salish into a single cordilleran culture
area. In addition to the basic culture which these Athapaskan tribes of
western Canada share with their Alaskan congeners, they seem to have absorbed
in comparatively recent times a number of culture traits from the Tlingit,
Tsimshian, Kwakiutl, and Bella Coola tribes of the Pacific Coast. This
infusion further enriches their culture and sets it off from that of the
Mackenzie River tribes. This western, or Pacific, division includes such
Canadian Athapaskans as the Kutchin, Han, Tutchone, Tahltan, Tsetsaut,
Carrier, and Chilcotin.

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Canada, Athapaskans

The eastern or arctic version of northern Athapaskan culture is much
simpler in content. Gone are such western elements as matrilineal clans
and moieties; potlatch ceremonies; emphasis on wealth; Raven myth cycle;
hod-shaped sitting cradle; etc. Among the eastern Groups burial of the
dead replaces cremation; the pointed teepee replaces the domed skin lodge
and the rectangular house; pointed two-piece snowshoes replace the bowed
type; flint and pyrites replace the drill with fungus hearth as a means of
producing fire. Salmon, both as an important food item and a basis for
ceremony, disappears from the culture since this fish is absent from the
Mackenzie River drainage, the home of all these tribes. Caribou hunting,
winter fishing through the ice of the large lakes, and trapping constitute
the basis for the economic life. With some local exceptions the terrain
changes from mountains to broad, forest-covered valleys and low, rolling
hills. In the extreme east the subarctic forest gives way to tundra, but
only infrequently did the Athapaskan tribes venture into the latte e r terrain,
preferring to stick close to the forests. The tribes constituting this
eastern or arctic division include the Beaver, Slave, Chipewyan, Yellowknife,
Dogrib, Bear Lake, Mountain, and Hare. The Sekani and Kaska are generally
included also since, like the others, they dwell in the Mackenzie River
drainage. These latter two tribes, however, show a number of western
features in both their technology and their social organization; conse–
quently they are perhaps better classed with the western division, or at
least, regarded as intermediate between the two main division. Physically
also the Sekani resemble the western Athapaskans rather than the Indians of
the Mackenzie River.
Two aberrant groups complete the list of Athapaskan-speaking tribes in

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Canada, Athapaskans

Canada. One, the now extinct Nicola, formerly constituted a small Atha–
paskan enclave surrounded by Salishan tribes in the interior of southern
British Columbia. The other, the Sarsi of northern Alberta, are Blackfoot
in every respect save their language.
Although all the groups mentioned speak languages that clearly belong
to the great Athapaskan linguistic family, the dialectical divergences
among some of them are great. As has been previously noted (cf. "Alaska,
Athapaskans"), the Kutchin speak dialects so specialized as to constitute
a separate division of the Athapaskan language. The Tsetsaut language like–
wise appears to have been distinct from all the others. Other divisions
include: ( 1 ) Tahltan and Kaska; ( 2 ) Carrier and Chilcotin; ( 3 ) Sakani,
Beaver, and Sarsi; ( 4 ) Chipewyan, Slave, and Yellowknife; ( 5 ) Dogrib, Bear
Lake, and Hare. Not enough is known concerning the language of the other
tribes to permit their classification, but probably most of them can be
consolidated with the divisions already mentioned. There is reason to think
that the Han dialect is similar to that spoken by the Upper Tanana of Alaska.
Quite possibly the Tutchone dialect or dialects also would fall into this
same division.
In spite of their isolated locations all of the Canadian Athapaskans
have had some contact with white men, dating back a century or more. During
the first half of the nineteenth century fur traders representing both the
Hudson's Bay Company and the old North West Company had established posts
throughout the area. Indeed until relatively recently much of our knowledge
of the Athapaskan natives was drawn from the journals of these early traders,
notably the writings of Alexander Mackenzie, Samuel Hearne, and Daniel Harmon.
While these European contacts had some effect upon the native culture,

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Canada, Athapaskans

particularly in regard to such material traits as tools, weapons, and
utensils, the fur trade probably served to entrench the Athapaskan people
more firmly in their occupation as hunters.
Later in the nineteenth century the Canadian Athapaskans were missionized.
The zeal displayed by these early missionaries was such that today virtually
all the natives profess some form of Christian belief. The Roman Catholic
Church has been the most assiduous in missionizing these Indians, but some
work has been done by the Anglicans also. The latter's missions can be
found at many of the larger settlements, often side by side with the Catholic
ones. Like the fur traders, the early missionaries left valuable accounts
[: ] of the natives. Father A. G. Morice, O.M.I., has written extensively
concerning the western tribes, and Father Emile Petitot, O.M.I., has left
descriptions of several of the Mackenzie River groups.
Physical Type
What anthropometric data there are indicate that the Canadian Athapas–
kans fall into a least two physical types, a western one and an eastern one.
The first type, based on measurements among the Tahltan, Carrier, and Sekani,
is characterized by somewhat above-average stature and is slightly broad–
headed. The legs are longer in proportion to the bodies than is the case
for most Indians. In all these characteristics they resemble the Upper Tanana
of Alaska. The second physical type is represented by the Chipewyan. It is
shorter in stature, narrower headed, and the legs are shorter in relation to
the bodies. The Kutchin tribes appear to be intermediate between these two
types.
Blood typing done among the Mackenzie River groups gives a distribution
of from 80 to 87% Type O, with the remaining individuals showing Type A.

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Canada, Athapaskans

A similar series for the Beaver gives 52.5% Type O, and 47.5% Type A.
The consistent presence of Type A sets the Canadian Athapaskans off from
the two series for Alaskan Athapaskans, both of which run 100% Type O.
Were the presence of Type A blood among Canadian Athapaskans due to an
admixture of white blood it would be expected that Type B would appear
also. Nevertheless, a certain amount of white blood has undoubtedly found
its way into the genetic inheritance of many of the natives. The early fur
traders customarily took Indian wives or mistresses and a distinct group of
metis or mixed bloods soon grew up around the various trading posts.
Tribes and Their Territories
The use of the term tribe in connection with any northern Athapaskan
group is something of a misnomer since none of them possesses either the
tribal consciousness or the political organization to give the term its
true meaning. Actually what we have is a group of Indians wandering over
a given territory and possessing a common dialect and common customs. Most
of the tribal designations are gratuitous, bestowed either by neighboring
Indians, by fur traders and missionaries, or by students in need of some
handy designation. Many of the so-called tribes consist of several different
bands, each one of which, after study, may become a tribe in its own right.
Thus the Hare or Hareskins of the early fur traders became the Hare, Mountain,
and Bear Lake tribes. It is quite likely that future field study will result
[: ] similarly in further divisions of the Tutchone and Kaska groups.
Likewise the ascription of a given territory to a certain tribe is only
approximate at best. While each Athapaskan group considers that it possesses
the territory over which its members hunt, fish, and trap, such ranges are

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Canada, Athapaskans

quite indefinite and often subject to change. The location and re-location
of a fur trading post, for instance, affects the movements of the adjacent
Indians. The early acquisition of the white man's weapons enabled the Cree
to check the southern drift of the Chipewyan and then push them northward.
The latter's movements in turn pushed back the Slave, and so on; consequently
any statis picture of Athapaskan tribes and their territories is somewhat
deceptive.
Kutchin . Because they are set off from their neighbors by a specialized
dialect, the Kutchin constitute a distinct ethnic group. These Indians, who
are sometimes also called the Loucheux, originally consisted of nine subdivi–
sions or tribes. Four of these are entirely in Alaska: viz., the Dihaikutchin;
Nedsekutchin; Tennuthkutchin; and Kutchakutchin. Two groups overlap into
Canada, but come to Fort Yukon, Alaska, to trade: ( 1 ) the Vuntakutchin, who
inhabit the middle Porcupine and the Crow rivers, and ( 2 ) the Tranjikkutchin
of Black River. The territory of the three remaining Kutchin tribes is
entirely in Canada: ( 1 ) the Takkuthkutchin, who inhabit the upper valley
of the Porcupine River; ( 2 ) the Tatlitkutchin who inhabit the Peel River valley;
and ( 3 ) the Nakotchokutchin of the flats above the Mackenzie River Delta.
The Canadian Kutchin number approximately 600. They do their trading at
Fort McPherson on the lower Peel River and at Fort Good Hope, Arctic Red
River, and Aklavik on the Mackenzie River.
Han. Like the Kutchin, the Han live on both sides of the international
boundary along the valley of the upper Yukon. They have sometimes been
classified as a Kutchin tribe, but this is erroneous since they do not
speak the Kutchin dialect. Culturally and linguistically they are probably
most similar to their Alaskan neighbors to the west, the Upper Tanana, and

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Canada, Athapaskans

to the various Tutchone bands of Canada. The remnants of the Han now live
in the native settlements at Eagle, Alaska, and Moosehide, Y.T.
Tutchone. The classification Tutchone is used to include the little–
known tribes inhabitating the major rivers of the upper Yukon basin, specifically
the Stewart, Pelly, Lewes, and White rivers with their tributaries. The early
explorers and writers also referred to these tribes as Caribou Indians, Wood
Indians, Crow People, and Nehaunee. Several different groups fall under the
heading of Tutchone, including: ( 1 ) The Kluane, whose range includes Kluane
Lake and the Donjek, Nisling, and Lower White rivers; and ( 2 ) the Takutine,
an Athapaskan tribe that formerly inhabited the valley of the Teslin River,
but has since been replaced by a Tlingit-speaking group. Perhaps the Tagish
of the Tagish Lake area should also be mentioned in connection with the Tut–
chone. The Tagish, although a Tlingit-speaking group, are so similar to the
Athapaskans in the rest of their culture that it has been suggested that they
may represent an Athapaskan tibe that has given up its language. Virtually
nothing is known concerning the natives of the Stewart and Pelly rivers
save that very few Indians now inhabit that region. Although no good des–
cription of any Tutchone tribe exists, there is reason to think that the
Kluane, at least, are quite similar to culture to the Upper Tanana Indians
of Alaska.
Tahltan. The Tahltan once controlled the basin of the upper Stikine
River together with some of the upper tributaries of the Taku, Nass, Skeena,
and Dease rivers. Because of their location they served as trade intermedi–
aries between the Tlingit at the mouth of the Stikine, and the Kaska bands
across the mountains. Originally the Tahlton were divided into six local
bands, but due to the influence of the Tlingit these bands came to be

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Canada, Athapaskans

considered as clan units and in time were grouped into two matrilineal
moieties, the Wolf and the Raven. Marriage was exogamous between these
moieties. From the Tlingit the Tahltan also borrowed their threefold
social division into nobles, commoners, and slaves. A slave remained a
slave for life and could marry only a slave, but a commoner could raise
himself to noble status by means of potlatches or giving-away feasts.
Unlike the other Athapaskan tribes, the Tahltan maintained men's houses
where the young men lived together until they were married. The Tahltan
population has decreased greatly since white contact and today they number
little more than 200. Most of these now make their headquarters at Tele–
graph Creek in the Cassiar region of British Columbia.
Tsetsaut . Immediately to the south of the Tahltan in the region
about the head of Portland Canal were the Tsetsaut. These Indians, whose
name simply means "inland people" in the language of the neighboring
Tsimshian, were basically an interior fishing and hunting people who came
to the sea only for the spring run of eulachon or candlefish. As might
be expected from their localities, their culture was a blend of Athapaskan
and Pacific Coast traits. When first known the Tsetsaut numbered about 500.
Today they are extinct as a tribe, the few surviving individuals having been
absorbed by the Nass River Tsimshiam.
Carrier. The Carrier inhabited the territory south of the Tsetsaut,
but were separated from the latter by the Tsimshian tribes. The territory
of the Carrier included the valley of the Bulkley River t ogether with the
neighboring Babine Lake; the Blackwater, Nechako, and upper Fraser river
drainages; and Stuart and Fraser lakes. The Carrier are subdivided by
some students into two main groups: ( 1 ) the Babines or Upper Carrier;

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Canada, Athapaskans

and ( 2 ) the Takulli or Lower Carrier. The name Carrier itself results from
the peculiar native custom of compelling a widow to carry the ashes of her
dead husband about with her in a bag on her back. Culturally the Carrier have
been subjected to both Bella Coola and Tsimshian influences. From these
coast tribes they have taken over such traits as crests and rank, and a
three-class social order. The former population of the Carrier has been
estimated at 8,500; today they number less than 2,000. They live in scattered
settlements on native reserves set aside for them in their old area. Some
of them have taken up petty farming, tie cutting, and other economic pursuits
of the white man.
Chilcotin. The Chilcotin live immediately to the south of the Carrier
in the basin of the Chilcotin River, a tributary of the Fraser. With the
exception of the now extinct Nicols, they are the most southerly of the
Canadian Athapaskans. Since the salmon ascended into their territory only
at irregular intervals, the Chilcotin subsisted largely by hunting caribou,
goats, sheep, and marmots and by gathering roots and berries. They traded
extensively with the Bella Coola of the coast and the Shuswap of the Fraser
River, and their culture shows the effect of these Bella Coola and interior
Salish influences. They resembled the Shuswap also in their physical type,
being shorter in stature and having broader heads and noses than other
Athapaskans. The Chilcotin now number about 400, who live in several small
communities in the area. In addition one Chilcotin band lives in Riskie
Creek among the Shuswap and another lives at Alexandria in Carrier territory.
Sekana . The Sekani occupied the upper drainage of the Peace River
above Hudson Hope including the basins of the Finlay and Parsnip rivers.
Although their geographic location places them with the Mackenzie River

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Canada, Athapaska

tribes, e.g., bowed two-piece snowshoes, cremation, moieties. Physically
also they resemble the Tahltan and Carrier. Originally they seem to have
been part of the Beaver group, to whom they are related linguistically;
but since all their trade contacts were to the west rather than to the
east their cultural orientation has also been more and more with the
western tribes, particularly with the neighboring Carrier. The Sekani
are primarily a hunting and trapping tribe and fishing plays little part
in their economy. During the nineteenth century the Sekani consisted of
four distinct bands. Today they number less than 200 people. These are
divided into at least two bands, one of which trades at Fort Grahame on
the Finlay River, and the other trades at Fort McLeod on the Parsnip River.
Some Sekani also trade at the Hudson's Bay Company post recently established
on the Sikanni Chief River.
Beaver. According to Alexander Mackenzie, who first explored this area,
the Beaver Indians once occupied the drainage of the Peace River from its
junction with the Smoky River to its mouth at Lake Athabaska, and inhabited
the lower valley of the Athabaska River as well. Incursions of the Cree,
who first secured firearms from the fur traders on Hudson Bay soon dispos–
sessed the Beaver from most of this area and confined them to that section
of the Peace River above Vermilion Rapids. In more recent years much of
this remaining territory has been taken over by the white man. Most of
the approximately 500 Beaver Indians remaining now live on several small
Indian Reserves along the Peace River.
Kaska. The Kaska inhabit the upper Liard River drainage above its
junction with the Fort Nelson River. They have sometimes been called the
Nahani; but since this latter term is also used to designate several other

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Canada, Athapaska

tribes about whom little is known, it has no real meaning for the ethnographer.
Culturally the Kaska have been grouped with the other Mackenzie River tribes.
However, like their neighbors to the south, the Sekani, they also display some
western features, such as matrilineal moieties and potlatches, so that in
many ways their culture is more western than eastern. From earliest times
the Kaska trade contacts have been oriented to the west. They traded with
the Tahltan via the Dease River, and through the latter Indians they obtained
items such as [: ] dentalia shells from the Tlingit on the Pacific Coast. The
present Kaska are divided into four distinct bands whose approximate habitat
is indicated by their designation: ( 1 ) France Lake; ( 2 ) Upper Liard River;
( 3 ) Dease River; ( 4 ) Nelson (who range over the Liard drainage between Lower
Post and Nelson Forks). These four groups total about 200. Most of them
now trade out of Lower Post at Mile 620 on the Alaska Highway. A fifth
group, the Espatodena, also known as the Goat (or Sheep) Indians, inhabits
the area of the Beaver and South Nahanni rivers and trades at Forts Liard
and Simpson. Little is known concerning these Indians, and although they
are generally grouped with the Kaska such classification may be in error.
Slave. The territory of the Slave Indians includes the drainage of the
lower Liard River from Fort Nelson to Great Slave Lake, the drainage of the
Hay River, and the upper portion of the Mackenzie River valley. Originally
they lived farther south between Great Slave and Athabaska lakes, where the
Slave River still bears their name, but incursions of the Cree and the
Chipewyan drove them to their present home. The name Slave indeed seems
to have originated with the Gree as a term of contempt. Fish play a large
part in the Slave economy. Moose and woodland caribou, both of which were
formerly caught in snares or run down on snowshoes, are also important.

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Canada, Athapaska

Like other Athapaskan tribes, the Slave are divided into a number of
independent, semi-leaderless bands named after the territory over which
they hunt and trap. The least known and most aboriginal of these groups
is the Trout Lake band whose territory lies between the Hay and Liard
rivers. The present population of the Slave is about 600. They trade
chiefly at Hay River, and at Forts Providence, Simpson, Liard, and Nelson.
Chipewyan. The Chipewyan are the most easterly of the Athapaskan groups.
At one time they claimed the vast triangularly shaped territory which would
be enclosed by a line drawn from Churchill to the height of land separating
the Thelon and Back rivers, another line running past the eastern ends of
Great Slave and Athabaska lakes, and a third east along the Churchill River
to its mouth on Hudson Bay. With their diminution in numbers as a result of
the smallpox epidemic of 1781 their trading locus shifted to the newly estab–
lished Fort Chipewyan on Athabaska Lake. The Chipewyan are essentially an
edge-of-the woods people, who occasionally venture out on the barren grounds
in pursuit of the caribou and musk ox. Although they are the largest of the
Athapaskan tribes as to both numbers and territory, their culture is the
weakest and least well developed. The Chipewyan are divided into a number
of local groups or bands. The most easterly of these, the so-called Caribou
Eaters, is sometimes considered to constitute a separate tribe but there
appears to be no real basis for this distinction. The present population
of the Chipewyan is about 1,000. Most of them trade at Forts McMurray,
Chipewyan, Smith, and Resolution, and at Fond du Lac.
Yellowknife . The Yellowknife (also called Copper Indians by the early
explorers) range over the barrens to the northeast of Great Slave and Great
Bear lakes including the upper reaches of the Thelon and Coppermine rivers

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Canada, Athapaska

where their territory impinges upon that of the Eskimo. They formerly
hammered out knives and other implements of a native copper which they
found along the Coppermine River; hence their name. The Yellowknife now
speak a dialect similar to the Chipewyan, but according to their tradition
they formerly had a distinctive dialect of their own. They were never a
large tribe and now number something over 100 people, most of whom trade
at Fort Resolution.
Dogrib . The Dogrib inhabit the territory between Great Slave and Great
Bear lakes, with the Slave in the Mackenzie valley to the west and the Yellow–
knife on the barren grounds to the east. They appear originally to have
ranged farther south but withdrew northward under pressure from the Chipewyan.
The Dogrib are a large group, numbering about 700, and have retained their
tribal solidarity better than their neighbors. They are divided into four
distinct bands, all of whom trade out of Fort Rae on the northern arm of Great
Slave Lake. A fifth band has intermixed with the Bear Lake Indians and trades
at Fort Norman.
Bear Lake . The Bear Lake Indians inhabit the area about Great Bear Lake.
Although they now consider themselves as constituting a distinct ethnic group,
they appear to have developed within historic times as an offshoot from the
Hare to the north. Today, however, their contacts are more with the Dogrib
than with the Hare. They are divided into a number of small, fluid bands all
of which trade out of Fort Norman.
Mountain. The Mountain Indians range along both sides of the Mackenzie
valley above and below the mouth of the Keele (or Gravel) River. They hunt
up that stream to its head and occasionally cross the mountains into the
headwaters of the Pelly and Stewart rivers. Like the Bear Lake Indians they

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Canada, Athapaska

are sometimes classed as a subdivision of the Hare. However, they differ
from the latter in their much greater dependence on hunting. The Mountain
Indians number about 100. Each summer they come down the Keele River in
their skin boats to trade at Fort Norman.
Hare. The Hare are also referred to as the Hareskins or Rabbitskins.
They live along the Mackenzie below the Mountain Indians, although in the
old days they seldom descended the river much below the Ramparts because of
their fear of the Eskimos. To the east they ranged as far as the headwaters
of the Anderson River, and to the west as far as the first line of the
mountains. They were a timid people and were held in some contempt by the
more warlike Kutchin, Eskimo, and Yellowknife. Like the other Mackenzie
River tribes they subsisted largely by hunting and fishing. However, since
big game animals such as caribou, moose, and muskox were relatively scarce
in their territory the natives were forced to rely more largely on fish and
small game such as rabbits. In the absence of caribou hides they often made
their clothes from rabbitskins; hence their appellation. They are broken up
into a number of bands, totalling in all several hundred persons. They trade
out of Fort Good Hope.
Nicola. The Nicola were a small Athapaskan-speaking tribe who formerly
dwelt in the valley of the Nicola River in southern British Columbia. They
were surrounded on all sides by interior Salishan tribes such as the Thompson
and Okanagan Indians whom they very much resembled culturally. The Nicola
became extinct early in the nineteenth century.
Sarsi. The Sarsi of the northern Alberta plains are clearly Athapaskan
in speech but culturally and politically they are part of the Algonkian–
speaking Blackfoot tribe. According to their legends the Sarsi were once

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Canada, Athapaska

a part of the Beaver of Peace River, but they broke loose from the latter
and drifted south to the plains country. Here they formed an alliance with
the buffalo-hunting Blackfoot and eventually they became a constituent band
of this powerful plains tribe. The remnants of the Sarsi, a little over
100 in number, are now confined to a reserve a few miles south of Calgary.
Population and Present Condition
Estimates based on Mooney place the number of Athapaskans in Canada at
the time of their first contact with Europeans at approximately 30,000,
although this figure seems a bit high. Today the Athapaskans number about
7,500, and many of these are mixed bloods. Beginning with the terrible
smallpox epidemic which ravaged the Mackenzie River tribes in 1781, various
European diseases have taken their toll. Of these tuberculosis has become
the most serious, and today this one disease is responsible for 50% of all
the deaths among the Indians along the Mackenzie River.
The Indian Affairs Branch maintains a few hospitals for natives, notably
the ones at Forts St. John and Norman; but for the most part medical and
hospital services for the natives are provided by the missions who in turn
receive some financial assistance from the government. The Roman Catholic
Church maintains hospitals at their missions at Forts Smith, Resolution, Rae,
and Simpson, and at Aklavik. The latter settlement also possesses an
Anglican hospital. Medical and educational facilities are virtually nonexist–
ent, however, in much of northern British Columbia and Yukon Territory. Until
recently these regions were virtually inaccessible. Throughout most of the
Athapaskan area the mission also provide what few educational facilities
there are for the natives.

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Canada, Athapaska

With the exception of some of the southernmost tribes such as the
Carrier and Beaver, most of the Athapaskans do not live on Indian Reserves.
Instead they continue to range over large areas of wilderness in pursuit
of their nomadic hunting and fishing existence. To protect the Indians
against the encroachments of white trappers the government has set aside
several large areas in the Northwest Territories as Native Game Preserves,
viz., the Peel River, Yellowknife, Slave, and Mackenzie Mountains preserves.
The building of the Alaska Military Highway in 1942 brought some of
the least known and most aboriginal groups into contact with large numbers
of white men. The native settlements at Fort Nelson, Lower Post, Teslin,
and Kluane Lake, which for years had enjoyed almost complete isolation,
suddenly found themselves on a modern highway. Just how disruptive this
will be for the natives and their culture remains to be seen.

EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Canada, Athapaska

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Birket-Smith, Kaj. "Contributions to Chipewyan Ethnology." Report of
the Fifth Thule Expedition
, Vol.6, No.3. Copehnagen, 1930.

2. Emmons, G.T. The Tahltan Indians . University of Pennsylvania, The
Museum, Anthropological Publications, Vol.IV, No.1, Philadelphia, 1911.

3. Grant, J.C. Boileau. Anthropometry of the Beaver, Sekani, and Carrier
Indians, National Museum of Canada, Bulletin 81. Ottawa, 1936.

4. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico . Bureau of American
Ethnology, Bulletin 30, Parts 1 and 2. Washington, 1907, 1910.

5. Harmon, Daniel W. A Journal of Voyages and Travels in the Interior of
North America (1800-1819)
, New York, 1903.

6. Hearne, Samuel. A Journey from Prince of Wale's Fort in Hudson's Bay
to the Northern Ocean in the Years 1769, 1770, 1771, and 1772
.
Toronto, 1911.

7. Honigmann, John J. Ethnography and Acculturation of the Fort Nelson Slave ,
and other monographs. Yale University Publications in Anthropology,
New Haven, 1946, 1949.

8. Innis, Harold A. The Fur Trade in Canada . New Haven, 1930.

9. Jenness, Diamond. The Indians of Canada , and other monographs. National
Museum of Canada. Ottawa, 1932, 1929, 1937.

10.McKennan, Robert. The Indians of the Upper Tanana, Alaska . (ms.), and field
notes on other tribes.

11. Mackenzie, Alexander. Voyages from Montreal . London, 1801.

12. Mason, J. Alden. Notes on the Indians of the Great Slave Lake Area.
Yale University Publications in Anthropology, No.34, New Haven, 1946.

13. Masson, L.R. Les Bourgeois de la Compagnie du Nord-Ouest , 2 vols.
Quebec, 1889, 1890.

14. Morice, A.G. The Western D e é n e é s, Their Manners and Customs , and other
monographs. Proceedings, Canadian Institute, 3rd series, Vol.7,
Toronto, 1890.

15. Osgood, Cornelius. The Distribution of the Norther n Athapaskan Indians ,
and other monographs. Yale University Publications in Anthropology.
New Haven, 1936.

16. Petitot, Emile. Monographie des D e é n e é -Dindjie , and other monographs. Paris, 1876.

Robert McKennan

Northern Cree (Canada)

EA-Anthropology
[John M. Cooper]

NORTHERN CREE (CANADA )

Page
Territory, Divisions, and Name 1
Natural Environment 2
Somatology and Population 4
Language 5
Sources 6
Subsistence Activities 7
Social and Political Life 12
Economic Life 14
Life Cycle 15
Esthetic and Recreational Activities 16
Religion 18
Folklore 21
Bibliography 22

EA-Anthropology
[John M. Cooper]

NORTHERN CREE (CANADA )
Territory, Divisions, and Name
The present article deals with the northern or canoe-using Cree of the
Canadian taiga, to the exclusion of the western or horse-using Cree of the park–
lands and plains west of Lake Winnipeg and south of the taiga. The northern
Cree fall into three geographical groups: the Maskegon or Swampy Cree, the Tetes
de Boule, and the western Woodland Cree. The Swampy Cree, in earlier colonial
times the main body of the northern Cree, occupy a belt of territory about 500
miles in length from northwest to southeast, abutting to the northeast on the
southern coast of Hudson Bay and the western coast of James Bay from the Churchill
River to the Harricanaw, and extending back into the hinterland about one to
three hundred miles over most of the area. To the east of the Swampy Cree, com–
pletely separated from them by about 200 miles as the crow flies, are the Cree–
speaking Tetes de Boule of the upper St. Maurice River, Quebec. Immediately to
the west of the Swampy Cree are the [: ] western Woodland Cree. These include:
the Cree of the Rocks, who occupy the roughly rectangular, wooded area west and
northwest of northern Lake Winnipeg, from about 99° to 106° W. longitude and from
about 53° 30′ to 56° N. latitude; and scattered outlying groups as far north as
Lake Athabaska and as far west as the Peace River country. The over-all east–
west extent of the Cree habitat is about 1,500 miles.

EA-Anthropology. Cooper: Northern Cree

The Swampy Cree and the Tetes de Boule appear from our documentary sources
to have occupied habitats approximately the same as their present ones since they first
came in contact with the whites in the second and third quarters of the 17th century.
We have no evidence of Cree-speaking people living before the beginning of the 18th
century in what is now western Woodland Cree territory, except perhaps in the eastern–
most fringe thereof. Much of the present territory of the western Woodland Cree
was acquired after the middle of the 18th century at the expense of Athapascan–
speaking peoples. (Mandelbaum, 1940, 169-87; Rossignol, 1939, 62)
"Cree" is apparently an abbreviation of an Ojibwa name, kiristnon (or kili–
stinon
, or kinistinon , see below); it is thus that the Swampy Cree are referred
to in the 17th century Jesuit chronicles ( Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents ,
R. G. Thwaites. 73 vols., Cleveland, 189601901). The northern Cree more commonly
call themselves iriniwuk ( iliniwuk , etc.: irin -, first, real, genuine; - uk , anim.
pl. ending), prefixing the name of the locality or of some feature of the environ–
ment to denote the specific band or regional name. Thus: Obidjuan iriniwuk ,
Obidjuan Lake band of the Tetes de Boule; maskego ininiwuk (or simply
maskegowuk : maskeg, swamp, marsh), Swampy Cree; assiniskawidiniwok ( assini - rock,
- skaw — abundance of, many); Cree of the Rocks. The name nehiyaw (and phonetic
variants), for Cree Indians, is also used, but more among the [: ] Plains Cree.
Natural Environment
The territory of the northern Cree, all within the Laurentian Shield, is mostly
low rolling plateau, broken by innumerable streams, rapids, falls, and lakes.
However, along the west coast of James Bay and the south coast of Hudson [: ] Bay
almost level swampy lowlands — whence the name Swampy Cree — extend well inland
from about 100 to 300 miles.

EA-Anthropology. Cooper: Northern Cree

The climate [: ] is of the Dfc type in the Köppen classification, with a
temperature range between extremes well in the nineties Fahrenheit on occa–
sional midsummer days down to the fifties below zero at times in midwinter.
For Moose Factory in the east and Fort Chipewyan (Lake Athabaska) in the west,
respective records (Fahr.) are: mean temperature, January, –4.4° and–12.7°,
July, 61.2° and [: ] 59.4° extremes, maximum, 97° and 93°, minimum,
–54° and –58°. Precipitation falls off from the extreme east of the Cree habitat
to the extreme northwest: average yearly in inches, Montreal (just south of the
Tete de Boule country), [: ] 40.65°, to Moose Factory, 20.95°, to Fort Chipewyan,
12.59°. In summer the woods often become excessively dry and forest fires are
frequent. In winter snow commonly accumulates to a depth of three to four feet.
Except for a narrow treeless strip along the southern coast of Hudson Bay
and a small triangular area of tundra at Cape Henrietta at the northern tip of
the western coast of James Bay, the territory occupied by the northern Cree is
typical taiga or coniferous forest, heavily wooded in most parts, somewhat more
open or sparsely wooded in the sphagnum swamps that cover much of the lowland
coastal belt. The more common trees of the territory are: black spruce ( Picea
mariana
), white spruce ( P. canadensis ), tamarack ( Larix americana ), balsam fir
( Abies balsamica ), balsam poplar ( P. balsamifera ), and canoe birch ( Betula
papyrifera
).
The mammals, birds and fishes of most importance in the northern Cree economy
are:
Mammals: Moose ( Alces americana ), woodland caribou ( Rangifer caribou ), black
bear ( Euarctos americanus ), polar bear ( Thalarctos maritimus ), gray wolf ( Canis
lycaon
), red fox ( Vulpes fulva ), marten ( Martes americana ), fisher ( M. pennanti ),
short-tailed weasel ( Mustela cicognanii ), least weasel ( M. rixosa ), mink ( M. vison ),

EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

wolverine ( Gulo luscus )R, skunk ( Mephitis mephitis ), American otter ( Lutra cana–
densis
), muskrat ( Ondatra zibethica ), woodchuck ( Marmota monax ), beaver ( Castor
canadensis
), Canada porcupine ( Erethizon dorsatus) , snowshoe rabbit ( Lepus ameri–
canus
). Frommuch of the eastern section of northern Cree territory, caribou have
largely or entirely given place to moose, within the [: ] memory of older men now
living.
Birds: Spruce grouse ( Canachites canadensis ), Canada ruffed grouse ( Bonasa
umbellus
), ptarmigan ( Lagopus spp.), Canada goose ( Branta candensis ), lesser snow
goose ( Chen hyperboreus) .
Fishes: Whitefish [: ] ( Coregonus spp.), dore ("pickerel," Stizostedion sp.),
"pike" ( Esox sp.), lake trout ( Cristivomer sp.), brook trout ( Salvelinus fontinalis ),
sturgeon ( Acipenser sp.), "suckers" ("carp": Catostomus spp.); marai or loche:
( Lota maculosa ).
Somatology and Population
We have only fragmentary anthropometric data on the northern Cree, quite in–
sufficient for generalizations, so we shall not attempt such. Miscegenation with
whites and other Indian tribes has taken place on a large scale since early times.
The Mongolian fold and Mongolian spot (ominicim , "his own little berry") occur,
the latter very commonly, in children. Respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases,
impetigo, and caries are widespread. Pronounced malnutrition, especially vitamin
deficiencies, and excessively high 1942 mortality rates (crude mortality, 39.04
per 1,000; death rate from tuberculosis, 1,400 per 100,000; infant mortality,
slightly under 400 per 1,000 live births) are reported for the Swampy Cree of
the region northwest of northern Lake Winnipeg (Moore et al, 1946). Diabetes is
reported as rare. Mild psychic disorders — [: ] "hysteria," dreads, and so forth --

EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

are common among the James Bay Cree; a specific neurosis marked by a [: ]
brief period of catatonic stupor, among Obidjuan Tete de Boule women; more
rarely, but throughout most or all of the northern Cree area, the wihtiko
psychosis, with its accompanying craving for human flesh (Saindon, 1933; Cooper,
1933).
Exact population figures are not available for all divisions of the northern
Cree. For one reason, census statistics are not broken down along linguistic
and cultural lines. The following data, from the official census reports of
1944, with comparative figures from that of 1924, are, except for the Tetes de
Boule and James Bay and Hudson Bay Cree, rough approximations only.
Tetes de Boule, in 1944, 639 souls (598 in 1924); James Bay Cree, 2,013
(1,571 in 1924); Hudson Bay Cree, 1,644 (1,022 in 1924); other Woodland Cree,
somewhere around 11,000-12,000 (8,000-9,000 [: ] in 1924); total, probably around
15,000-16,000 (11,000-12,000 in 1924). According to the census data, the popu–
lation of the northern Cree increased about 40% between 1924 and 1944. (Census,
1924, 1944.)
Language
Cree, a language of the far-flung Algonquian family, has its closest affi–
liations [: ] within the family with Montagnais-Naskapi and Ojibwa-Algonquin. The
three languages differ from one another about as much as do Italian, Spanish, and
Portuguese. As spoken throughout the whole area of occupation by the Cree their
language is markedly uniform, although broken up into a number of local dialects,
referred to as the d, l, n, r, θ (Gr., theta ), and y dialects because of phoneti–
cal variants for the "l" of the Primitive Central Algonkin. The "l" is retained

EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

or has been re-adopted in the Moose Factory dialect and by some of the members
of the Tetes de Boule and Albany bands, but is replaced, for instance, by [: ]
"r" among most of the Tetes de Boule, the Kesagami band (formerly just east of
and now fused with the Moose Factory [: ] band), and some of the far western Wood–
land Cree. The Swampy Cree from Albany on James Bay as far as Oxford House, Norway
House, and the country around Le Pas on the lower Saskatchewan, have adopted the
"n"; the lower Churchill Cree and the Cree of the Rocks use θ ( theta ) and "d";
and "y" is substituted among some bands of western Woodland Cree as well as among
the Plains Cree. (Michelson, 1939, 70-73, map; Rossignol, 1939, 62; Lacombe, 1874,
xv; Faries-Watkins, 1938, v; Cooper, 1945.)
Sources
The first references to the Tetes de Boule and the Swampy Cree are in the
Jesuit Relations of 1636 and 1640, respectively. On the Swampy and Western Wood–
land Cree our fullest early sources are Umfreville (1790), Alexander Mackenzie
(1902), David Thompson (1916), Richardson in Franklin (1823); more recent Skinner
(1911, his "Cree" [: ] data are largely Montagnais), Saindon (1933, 1934), Ro s signol
(1938a, 1938b, 1939), Flannery (1935, 136 1936, 1938, 1946, and unpublished field
notes of 1933, 1935, 1937), and Cooper (1928, 1933, 1934, 1938, 1945, 1946, and
unpublished field notes of 1927, 1932-34). On the Tetes de Boule, our fuller
sources are Davidson (1928a, 1928b, 1928c), Guinard (1930), Cooper (1939 and [: ]
unpublished field notes of 1925-27, 1931, 1937). The following account of Cree
culture is based chiefly upon the above unpublished field notes, in part upon the
extensive scattered published sources on the northern Cree, including the above–
mentioned ones. Our available information upon the Tetes de Boule and the James Bay
Swampy Cree is very much more detailed, although still incomplete, than that upon the

EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

the other Swampy Cree and upon the western Woodland Cree.
Subsistence Activities
Yearly cycle . From fall until spring each year, during the months when furs
are at their best and trapping is good, the northern Cree live widely scattered
in the forest, each biological family or group of close kin hunting and trapping
in comparative isolation on its own hunting ground. As the trapping season ends
in the spring the scattered families and groups of each band foregather, usually
near the trading posts, with the triple objective of exchanging their furs for
white man's goods, of associating with relatives, friends, and fellow tribesmen,
and of holding religious (now mostly Christian) services and exercises. Most of
the Swampy Cree who winter up in the hinterland spend part of the summer on the
coasts of Hudson and James bays, but this coast-inland alternation has only
superficial resemblances to the inland-coast alternation, conditioned by the food
quest, of many of the Eskimos.
Food . The northern Cree practice no plant cultivation, apart from small gar–
dens here and there, mostly of potatoes, under white influence. They have no native
domestic animals except the dog. The small aboriginal dog used in hunting is well
treated; the larger dogs, of ultimate white or Eskimo derivation, used for draw–
ing toboggans are pretty badly treated.
The chief protein foods are: caribou, moose, beaver, mu k skrat, black and
polar bear, porcupine, woodchuck, snowshoe rabbit, grouse, geese, ducks, and fish,
especially whitefish. Ordinarily fox, wolf, wolverine, weasel, seal, and beluga
are not eaten. Marten, fisher, mink, skunk, lynx, and otter are eaten by some
bands and individuals but not by others. The native flora is drawn upon mainly for

EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

many kinds of berries, especially blueberries ( Vaccinium sp.), wild cherries
( Prunus sp.), and "wild carrots," Salt was not used. Flour, lard, sugar, and
canned goods are purchased from traders. The [: ] aboriginal diet, a predominantly
protein one of meat and fish, is shifting to one in which carbohydrates bulk large.
Hunting and trapping food and game animals is now done mostly with guns and
steel traps. The bow and arrow is still used a little, by boys or else for grouse
and ptarmigan by grownups. A great variety of snares, deadfalls, spear downfalls,
door and funnel traps, pitfalls, and other trapping devices were used until quite
recent years, and many of them are still used (Cooper, 1938). Beaver chiseling is
or was common. Caribou are or were taken by spearing in the water and by driving
in fences, but only at points favorable to such methods. Blinds and decoys are
used in hunting geese.
Fishing is done chiefly with gill nets (set under the ice in winter), [: ]
pole-and-line, and night lines. Fish nets, formerly made of wikubi (a willow:
Salix sp.), are now made of twine, and mostly by the women. Steel fishhooks
have now almost entirely replaced the earlier hooks made of a bit of wood with a
point of bone or lynx claw attached at an acute angle to the distal end.
Boiling with hot stones in wooden or bark containe r s occurred. Meat and fish
are commonly ponasked, that is, broiled on a spit tilted toward the fire, or are
suspended over the fire.
Meat was cut in strips, dried over a fire, and often pounded and mixed with
grease and so preserved. Grease is made from bear and beaver fat and from moose
bones and fat, and is preserved. Blueberries are boiled to a thick paste which
hardens and can be kept through the winter or even longer.
There was no native pre-contact intoxicant, but the white man's alcoholic
beverages are taken to very kindly everywhere and home brew is not unknown. An

EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

infusion of Labrador tea ( Ledum groenlandicum ) is commonly drunk. Birch syrup is
made by some bands; maple syrup by the southernmost division of the Tetes de Boule.
The lichen, rock tripe ( Umbilicaria sp.) is resorted to as a famine food. Trader's
tea is everywhere in use.
Fire-making . Fire, before the [: ] introduction of matches, was made with flint
and steel, and still earlier by use of the bow drill among the James Bay Cree,
and, among them and the Tetes de Boule, by percussion with two stones. Among
the Tetes de Boule, birch and tamarack are preferred for firewood, with poplar,
spruce, Banksian pine, and balsam as second choices.
Shelter . Log cabins and canvas-covered walled or unwalled A-tents introduced
from the whites are the common shelter for summer. Many families prefer the tent
for winter. The typical native tent is or was conical, covered with birch-bark
rolls or, in certain areas, with caribou or moose skin, and provided with a mov–
able skin flap at the smoke hole. The ground inside was often dug out a few
inches, in a rare case a couple of feet. A hole through the tent wall and the
snow banked outside provided ventilation, to regulate interior temperature and to
carry the smoke out through the open top. The hearth was in the center of the tent.
A conical tent, of split poles, covered with earth or moss, was sometimes used by
the James Bay Cree and Tetes de Boule; a large A-shaped tent, with a door at each
end and housing two or more families, by some of the latter. For overnight camp–
ing simple windbreaks or three-walled structures were erected, with a big fire
built at the front to leeward. For [: ] ground covering inside tents, balsam or
other brush, strips of spruce bark, and caribou, moose, or bear hides are customary.
Clothing . Some of the northern Cree still use the native moccasins, fur
headgear, skin mittens (fingerless, except thumb), and robes and tailored garments
of woven rabbit skin; the remainder wear store-bought European clothing. Formerly,
clothing consisting mainly of breechclout, leggings, coats with attached or de-

EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

tachable sleeves, moccasins, mittens, and headgear was of skin and fur. Mocca–
sins, consistently soleless, are of several types, such as the rabbit nose, the
deer tooth, and what appears to be the older type in the area from Moose to the
St. Maurice, a moccasin like the rabbit nose one but lacking the seam forward
of the vamp (cf. ill. Skinner, 1911, 20). Snow goggles are common among the
Swampy Cree and Tetes de Boule.
Skin dressing is an elaborate process calling for great skill and including
dehairing, fleshing, splashing with brains or grease, wringing and working, water–
soaking, sun-drying, and smoking.
There was relatively little body decoration, apart from face painting (with
native earths and charcoal and later with trader's vermilion), depilation, ear–
piercing, and simple tattooing. Thread tattooing occurred among the Swampy Cree
and Tetes de Boule. Septum piercing was early reported in the York Factory
region. Body anointing with grease was resorted to more for protection against
cold in winter and mosquitoes in summer.
Travel and transportation . Summer travel and transportation are and, from the
nature of the country, have to be mainly by water. Canvas-covered canoes, often
propelled by outboard motors, have since the beginning of the century largely dis–
placed the early birch-bark canoe. The Cree of the northern coast of James Bay,
where suitable birch bark is not available, use a crudely constructed canoe of
pine or spruce bark. Small "plank canoes," of thin pine or cedar boards, have
occasionally been used in the Albany River region. Rafts are sometimes made to
cross lakes or to descend rivers.
Winter travel and transportation are mostly by snowshoe and toboggan.
The common snowshoe is the netted type, pointed at both ends, sometimes with
the front end turned up. The bear-foot type is widespread, in use more by children.
A beaver-tail snowshoe is known among the central Tetes de Boule. Wooden (non-

EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

netted) snowshoes are sometimes used among the northern James Bay Cree. Formerly
snowshoe netting was sometimes of loche or sturgeon skin in the Albany-Moose–
Kesagami region.
The birch toboggan occurs throughout the northern Cree area. As early at
least as the late 18th century, it was drawn by dogs among the Hudson Bay and Lake
Winnipeg Swampy Cree. Farthe east, however, among the James Bay Cree the toboggan
was drawn by men, women, and children until quite recent times, and among the Tetes
de Boule till well after the beginning of the present century, and in some places
is still sometimes so drawn.
Manufactures . Babiche, of caribou and moose rawhide, is used for snowshoe
netting and other purposes; peeled and split rootlets of spruce, as lashing for
canoes and bark containers; caribou and moose sinew, as thread in making moccasins.
Needles were made of bone and fish spine. Long strips of rabbit skin, with the
hair on, are woven by a looped coiled technique into blankets and garments. Loom
[: ] weaving is absent.
Various types of baskets and dishes are made of canoe-birch bark or where
this is lacking of other bark — of pine in the northern James Bay region. In some
areas bark baskets are or were decorated with porcupine quills or else dyed red
with a willow bark dye and etched in either geometric or realistic figures.
Of wood were or are made dishes, drinking cups, and many types of spoons and
ladles, the last sometimes with burnt designs.
The northern Cree did little stone work. Bone was used more than stone for
weapons and implements.
Pottery is lacking. A little was made long ago by the southern Tetes de Boule,
and pottery water drums were earlier reported among the Cree (or mixed Cree and
Ojibwa?) north of Lake Superior.

EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

Bags and containers of many kinds are made from the skins of mammals, birds,
and fishes.
The white man's axe is of course universally used, as is also the steel
crooked knife. In earlier times knives were made from caribou ribs and leg bones
and from beaver teeth.
From black spruce cones and white spruce underbark the Tetes de Boule make
a brown-to-black dye; from the bark of a willow, a red one.
At present all the northern Cree use guns in hunting. The chief native hunting
weapon was the bow and arrow. Among the James Bay Cree and the Tetes de Boule,
the bow was more commonly a self-bow, with bowstring of hide or sinew; the arrow,
with bone head, flat nock, and bridge feathering (usually three half-feathers).
Blunt headed bird arrows are still used. Boys may learn archery by use of the
primary release; adults commonly use the Mediterranean. The [: ] crossbow occurs,
mostly as a toy, among the James Bay Cree and the Tetes de Boule; the throwing
arrow among the latter. A spear was used in some areas for caribou, sturgeon,
and pike.
Social and Political Life
The young of marriageable age are strictly segregated; there is no courting.
Preferential cross-cousin marriage is or was prevalent among the James Bay and
Saskatchewan Woodland Cree, not among the Tetes de Boule. (Flannery, 1938; Rossig–
nol, 1938a). Marriages are largely arranged by the parents, especially the mothers,
of the couple. Skill, industriousness, and mild disposition are the outstanding
qualifications looked for in prospective mates. The presents given by the groom to
the bride's father can hardly be called a bride price proper. The wedding involves
no rites, and practically no observances except lectures to the couple by the girl's
parents.

EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

The northern Cree, now nearly all Christian and monogamous, formerly prac–
ticed polygyny, frequently sororal. A man rarely had more than three or four
wives simultaneously. Levirate marriages were reported earlier among the Hudson
Bay Swampy Cree. Marr a iage tends or tended to be patrilocal among the Tetes de
Boule; matrilocal, temporarily at least, among the Hudson Bay Cree. A daughter–
in-law, among the Swampy Cree (but not the Tetes de Boule), does not speak to her
father-in-law directly unless necessary, nor a son-in-law to his mother-in-law.
In general, the status of woman among the northern Cree is in most respects
fairly good (Flannery, 1935). Children are consistently well treated; the aged,
often not so well.
Divorce was common in the old days, as were extramarital sexual relations.
Incest occurs, although disapproved.
The characteristic political unit is the loose band made up of several or
many unrelated biological or extended families and numbering from less than a hundred
up to four or even six or eight hundred souls. These bands formerly lacked chiefs
and some still do. The "chiefs" of the early trading days were in reality leaders
accepted or chosen freely by their followers for ability in bargaining, hunting,
and warfare; they had no coercive power, no recognized authority [: ] to command, legis–
late, or adjudicate. The same holds in the main for the modern band chiefs, where
they exist; their function is mostly to serve as go-betweens with the Canadian
authorities. Decisions on matters concerning the public interest of the band are
ordinarily arrived at by common consent in informal gatherings participated in by
the married or older men. Shifting by individuals, families, or larger groups
from one band to another is freely done, often in consequence of shifts in the loca–
tion of trading posts. Actually the ultimate autonomous political unit is more the
biological or extended family than the band.

EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

There are and, so far as our earlier sources go, were no social classes, no
secret or other societies, no [: ] totemic or non-totemic sibs or moieties.
The western swampy Cree of Hudson Bay used to carry on sporadic warfare with
their old enemies the Eskimos, and warfare was of course an integral feature of
the previously mentioned westward and northwestward expansion of the western Swampy
Cree. The James Bay Cree, however, and the Tetes de Boule have been, since first
known historically in the 17th century, notably peaceful and nonmilitaristic.
Economic Life
Land is held throughout nearly all the northern Cree area under the family
hunting ground system. Each biological or extended family or other small kinship
group claims exclusive hunting and trapping rights over a well limited area which
may vary from about 50 to 300 or more square miles. Trespass by members of the
same or other bands for hunting or trapping is strictly prohibited and bitterly
resented. Beaver are carefully conserved. In the nonforested tundra region off
Cape Henrietta in James Bay, whither the adjacent forest-dwelling Indians go
chiefly for caribou, the family hunting ground system does not obtain: each man
hunts and traps where he pleases.
A man who kills a large game animal, say a moose, has a recognized exclusive
right to it. But ordinarily if other families are in camp he will share the meat
generously and would be criticized as stingy if he did not. Women and children enjoy
full ownership of property which they have acquiared by manufacture, gift, or other–
wise. Stealing among members of a band is almost unknown. Caches, d c ommonly
made, of food or other property are rarely or never brok e n into or plundered.
The division of labor between men and women appears on the whole equitable.
Tasks involving greater muscular power, graver danger or [: ] hardship, and farther

EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

travel from camp fall more to the man; others, more to the woman. In manufac–
tures, all kinds of work in wood is ordinarily done by the man; skin-dressing,
sewing, garment-making, netting, and basketry, by the woman. But the lines are
not strictly drawn; men will often engage in what are considered more as women's
tasks, and vice versa.
Life Cycle
Conception is generally believed to result only from reiterated coitus. Be–
lief in prenatal impressions, marital continence from advanced pregnancy until
well after delivery, various food prescriptions and taboos for the mother before
and after childbirth, and delivery in kneeling position are common; contra–
ceptive measures, abortion, and infanticide are not.
The infant at birth is first placed in a simple bark cradle, later in a
baby-sack or moss-bag and wooden hopped cradle. Powdered rotten wood is used as
talcum powder, moss as diaper. The navel cord, caribou teeth, a small netted
hoop (to prevent colds), and other objects are hung on the cradle. Among the
James Bay Cree the child's name is bestowed, not by the parents, but by a friend,
who gets it by dreaming or conjuring. In older times individuals had only one
name, with often an additional nickname.
Children are rarely subjected to corporal punishment. Training in social
behavior is largely through encouragement and admonition, rewards more than punish–
ment, a "taking-for-granted" pedagogy; sometimes by threat of bugaboos such as the
crow, wolf, owl, or cannibal wihtiko. The first game killed by a boy is given
by him to his parents or others, and not partaken of by himself.
There are no boys' adolescent rites proper, although many or most boys around
adolescence would go out into the woods, make a scaffold in a tree, and fast and
fream to obtain a powagan or guardian spirit. The girl at her first menses was

EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

segregated in a little tent near her father's lodge and was given counsel by an
older woman relative, and in some areas had to use a head-and-face covering, a
reed or bone tube for drinking, and/or a stick for scratching her head or back.
(Play, marriage, and sickness are dealt with elsewhere in the present article.)
Earlier, among some of the western Swampy Cree, mourning observances in–
cluded cutting off the hair, piercing the [: ] thighs and arms with arrows, and –
blackening the face. Among the northern Cree, until recently some belongings were
commonly deposited with the dead on or in the grave. Burial was ordinarily in
a grave lined with sticks, branches, or bar; in supine posture among the Tetes
de Boule and the James Bay Cree, in sitting posture among some of the western
Swampy Cree. Among the James Bay Cree the survivors move their tent after a death.
Survival [: ] after death was believed in, but in most areas for [: ] which we
have information ideas about the conditions prevailing in the after life were
markedly vague. The Northern Lights were spoken of as the dancing of the dead.
Esthetic and Recreational Activities
Decoration of artifacts with split spruce roots is common; with porcupine quills
and by etching and burning, sporadic. Making bitten patterns, often very artistic,
in birch bark is popular among the women. Sculpture proper in stone or wood was
almost entirely absent.
The chief musical instruments are the rattle and drum: the former of rawhide
shaped like the figure 6, the latter more commonly double-headed an often with one
or two snares across the head.
The white man's decorative arts, music and musical instruments, and dances
have almost entirely supplanted the native ones. In general, artistic achievement
was of an extremely simple order.

EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

From northern Cree recreative culture was entirely or almost entirely
absent, apart from later intrusions, such features as gambling, team games
proper, strenuous competition, and appeal to magico-religious forces. There
were mild competitive sports such as foot and canoe races, football, wrestling,
and pole tug-of-war, but rivalry was not very keen. Common toys used by
children are bows and arrows, crossbows, throwing arrows, slings, tops, buzzers,
bull-roarers, dart stickers, owl feet, flippers, popguns, toy cradles, dolls.
String figures were observed among the Tetes de Boule. Recreative swimming is
uncommon. Hide-and-seek and a number of such games with rules are played by
children, and sometimes by adults ( [: ] Flannery, 1936). Moccasin, lacrosse, and
hoop-and-pole are absent, although the last two were earlier reported among
some of the western Swampy Cree. Snowsnake, platter, and the woman's double-ball
game occurred among some of the Jame a Bay Cree, probably intrusive from the
adjacent Ojibwa. Cup-and-pin with brush, birch-bark disks, or perforated hide
for the "cup," is very common. Young wild mammals and birds are kept as pets in
many areas, perhaps all.
There were no native alcoholic intoxicants. Tobacco was smoked in stone
pipes, sometimes in makeshift tubular birch-bark ones. Tobacco was gotten by
trade; none was planted. Red willow bark served as substitute. A large stone
calumet was earlier used among the western Swampy Cree.
Most of the modern northern Cree can read and write syllabic or Roman script,
the young in some areas being home-taught by their parents or other elders. A
considerable number of travelers' signs and symbols, mostly made with sticks an [: ]
serving as a crude means of objective communication, are put up on trails or in
other conspicuous places to convey messages to later-coming relatives and friends.
[: ]

EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

A stick, for example, cut all around, blackened at the cut with charcoal, and stuck
up on a trail, means that there has been a death.
The northern Cree are markedly matter-of-fact and "nonmystical" in their
explanation of natural phenomena, most of which are ascribed to natural [: ] causes
or, with customary reserve, to causes unknown rather than to supernatural ones.
These forest hunters have considerable, often surprisingly keen, climatological,
zoological, and botanical knowledge.
Religion
Most of the magico-religious beliefs, activities, and attitudes of the nor–
thern Cree fall into one or other of three categories: theistic concepts and cult,
shamanistic practices, and hunting observances.
A pre-Christian belief in and cult of a Supreme Being was found everywhere
among the Swampy Cree and western Woodland Cree (Cooper, 1934). The Supreme Being
was believed to be one only, to be over all things, and to live above but he was
in no sense s identified with the sun or the sky. He was addressed as manitu ("spirit,"
"supernatural being"), kitci manitu ("great spirit"), "Our Father," "Thou who art
master (or owner) of life," "Thou who art master of food," and other names. He was
the benevolent master or owner of all things, including human beings, but not
among all bands the maker. As owner and master of food and of the game animals
He was the provider of food, and He sent dreams to tell the Indians where they would
hunt well. He was offended if they wasted the meat He gave them or mistreated the
animals or other creatures He had provided for man, but seemingly did not rewards
conformity with or punish offences against the moral or social code. The chief act
of cult toward Him was a first-fruits sacrifice which consisted in throwing a bit
of meat or grease in the fire before partaking of food and in saying, mentally or

EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

aloud, some such simple unformalized prayer as, "We thank Thee for this food Thou
hast given us," "We are depending on Thee to give us meat again," and so forth.
In some areas a spring feast was held at which many people would gather, but
no elaborate or formal ritual was connected with it. In fact, elaborate ritualism
such as one finds among the Plains Cree is quite foreign to the northern Cree
culture.
The most characteristic attitude toward the Supreme Being and for that matter
toward most other supernatural beings was that of reverence, expectation, and
gratitude. Fear was little to the fore, even fear of the dead. Fear was mostly
felt toward the cannibalistic wihtiko, often described in the earlier literature
as a sort of supreme evil being, but in reality a pure folklore being to whom no
form of cult was given, except perhaps earlier among the western Swampy Cree.
Whether the Tetes de Boule had a belief in a Supreme Being is at best doubt–
ful. Their most prominent being, North Being or North Wind Being, often addressed
as "Our Grandfather," shared some of the characteristics of the Swampy Cree Supreme
Being. He was, for instance, the giver of food, and was offended at wasting meat,
but on the other hand he figures in folklore as far from supreme.
The shamanistic or "conjuring" practices center large l y around the shaking-tent
rite and are carried out by professional or specially qualified shamans or con–
jurers through the mediation of their guardian spirit ( powagan ) or spirits acquired
by the same type of quest that [: ] was used by the adolescent boy to acquire one.
There is no sharp division between lay and professional power so acquired: the one
blends imperceptibly into the other. The shaking-tent rite is based on the animistic
guardian-spirit concept rather than on the concept of impersonal magical force.
A special tent, solidly built, and usually more or less cylindrical in form, is
erected. The shaman enters it. After a while, voices of various animals or beings

EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

are heard — mikenak ( miskenak ), the turtle, serving as spokesman in most regions
— and the tent shakes or bends at the top. Through the rite, the shaman learns
such things as future events, the location of game, the fortunes of distant
relatives or friends, the remedy for disease, and may take occasion to harm
enemies or rival shamans. He may also achieve these same ends through means
other than the shaking-tent rite, such as dreaming, drumming, singing, and so
forth. Induced ecstacy or loss of consciousness plays a very negligible role in
the practices of the northern Cree shaman.
Many types of sickness are looked upon as purely "natural" and are treated by
lay men and women with herbal and other remedies on a purely empirical basis.
Other types are attributed to the supernatural intrusion of some sickness–
causing object into the body of the ill person, and call for the services of
the professional shaman who, for a fee, extracts the object. Concepts of soul
loss and possession as causes of illness are absent. In general, the northern Cree
shaman is more a clairvoyant, seer, and prophet than a shaman proper. His acti–
vities are predominantly beneficent, although sometimes maleficent.
Concepts and observances connected with hunting and trapping are varied and
manifold. Prominent among them, especially in the Tete de Boule and western
Swampy Cree areas, are beliefs in chiefs of various species of animals and birds,
and the practice of bear ceremonialism with apologetic speeches to the bear,
tobacco offerings to the dead animal, decoration and suspension of its skull, and
so forth. Throughout the northern Cree area the bones of most game and fur animals
as well as of geese and ducks are given special care, lest poor hunting luck
follow, automatically or on account of offense taken by the animals, their chiefs,
or the Supreme Being. In particular, these bones must not be given to dogs.
Dreaming, sweating in a small domed sweat lodge, singing, and drumming are

EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

common before going out to hunt, as on certain other occasions such as curing
rites.
Divination by holding shoulder blades of mammals or breastbones of birds
against the fire (scapulimancy), by looking in water or fish eyes or other shiny
surface (scrying), by tossing otter paws, and by many other methods is resorted
to in order to foresee hunting luck and to learn where hunting will be best, as
well as to predict in matters not connected with hunting.
Several procedures — whether magical or just natural from the native point
of view, it is hard to say — were used to bring the north wind and with it a
crust on the snow. These procedures were, variously, twirling a buzzer, whirling
a bull-roarer, tying a lighted birch-bark strip to a dog's tail, making a snow
man, plucking a live Canada jay, exposing a naked child for a moment to the cold
outside the tent.
Simple sacrifices, made before eating, of bits of food thrown in the fire
for the Supreme Being, for this or that "spirit," or sometimes for the dead, are
common in everyday life, as are also offerings thrown into a rapids before
running it. The dog sacrifice was found earlier among the western Swampy Cree,
but is denied by informants for the James Bay Cree and the Tetes de Boule. Human
sacrifice was totally absent. Ritual cannibalism was in earlier times indulged in
occasionally and to a slight extent by some of the Hudson Bay Cree in their wars
with the Eskimos, but gastronomic and other cannibalism was and is looked upon
with horror, even when resorted to in gravest peril of death from starvation.
Folklore
Among the more widely believed-in mythical beings are: wihtiko , the dreaded
cannibalistic giant who wanders around the woods literally seeking whom he may

EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

devour; pagaskogan , the skeleton being who can be heard rattling through the air;
the memegweciwuk , dwarfs who live in rocks, paddle around in [: ] stone canoes
and steal fish from the nets; human or human-like beings, known under different
names, who skulk in the woods bent on no good to man; "little people," a bit mis–
chievous but not at all feared.
There is an interminable cycle of humorous and other stories relating the
adventures and escapades of Wisekedjak, the trickster. A flood story with the
diving-for-earth theme is found among all divisions of the northern Cree. Other
cycles are concerned with the exploits of Tcikapis and other well known folklore
characters of the north. A great many tales are told of the ravages by and the
killing of wihtikos. Numerous accounts — historical, semihistorical, or mythical
— are current regarding [: ] escape from or death through famine. War stories are
almost completely lacking among the James Bay Cree and the Tetes de Boule.
Bibliography

Census of Indians and Eskimos in Canada, 1924. Department of Indian Affairs,
Ottawa, 1924.

Census of Indians in Canada, 1944. Indian Affairs Branch, Ottawa, 1945.

Cooper, J. M., 1928. Northern Algonkian Scrying and Scapulimancy. In Festschrift
P. W. Schmidt, Wien, 205-17.

----, 1933. The Cree Witiko Psychosis. Primitive Man, 6:20-24.

----, 1934. The Northern Algonquian Supreme Being. Catholic University of America,
Anthropological Series 2.

----, 1938. Snares, Deadfalls and Other Traps of the Northern Algonquians and Nor–
thern Algonquians and Northern Athapaskans. Ibid., 5.

----, 1939. Is the Northern Algonquian Family Hunting Ground System Pre-Columbian?
American Anthropologist, 41:66-90.

----, 1945. Tete-de-Boule Cree. International Journal American Linguistics,
11:36-44.

----, 1946. The Culture of the Northeastern Indian Hunters: A Reconstructive In–
terpretation. In R.S.Peabody Foundation for Archaeology, Papers 3:272-305.

EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

Davidson, D. S., 1928a. Notes on Tete de Boule Ethnology. American Anthropologist,
30:18-46.

----, 1928b. Decorative Art of the Tetes de Boule of Quebec. Indian Notes and
Monographs, 10:115-53.

----, 1928c. Some Tete de Boule Tales. Journal American Folk-Lore, 41:262-74.

Flannery, R., 1935. The Position of Woman among the Eastern Cree. Primitive Man,
8:81-86.

----, 1936. Some Aspects of James Bay Recreative Culture. Ibid., 9:49-56.

----, 1938. Cross-cousin Marriage among the Cree and Montagnais of James Bay.
Ibid., 11:29-33.

----, 1946. The Culture of the Northeastern Indian Hunters: A Descriptive Survey.
In R.S.Peabody Foundation for Archaeology, [: ] Papers 3:263-71.

Franklin, J., 1823. Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea (1819–
1822), London.

Guinard, J.E., 1930. Witiko among the Tete-de-Boule. Primitive Man, 3:69-71.

Lacombe, A., 1874. Dictionnaire de la langue des cris. Montreal.

Mackenzie, A., 1902. Voyages (1789-1793), 2 v., repr., New York.

Mandelbaum, D. G., 1940. The Plains Cree. American Museum Natural History,
Anthropological Papers, v.37, pt. 2.

Michelson, T., 1939. Linguistic Classification of Cree and Montagnais-Naskapi
Dialects. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bull. 123: 69-95.

Moore, P.E., and others, 1946. Medical Survey of Nutrition among the Northern
Manitoba Indians. Repr. from Canadian Medical Association Journal, v. 54.

Rossignol, M., 1938a. Cross-cousin Marriage among the Saskatchewn Cree. Primitive
Man, 11:26-28.

----, 1938b. The Religion of the Saskatchewan and Western Manitoba Cree. Ibid.,
11:67-71.

----,1939. Property concepts among the Cree of the Rocks. Ibid., 12:61-70.

Saindon, J.E., 1933. Mental Disorders among the James Bay Cree. Ibid., 6:1-12.

----,1934. Two Cree Songs from James Bay. Ibid., 7:6-7.

Skinner, A.B., 1911. Notes on the Eastern Cree and Northern Sault a eaux. American
Museum Natural History, Anthropological Papers, v. 9, pt. 1.

EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

Thompson, D., 1916. Narrative of his Explorations in Western America, [: ]
1784-1812, ed. J.B. Tyrrell, Publ. Champlain Soc. xii, Toronto.

Umfreville, E., 1790. The Present State of Hudson's Bay, London.

Watkins, E. A., 1938. A Dictionary of the Cree Language, ed. [: ] R. Faries,
Toronto.

John M. Cooper

The Montagnais-Naskapi

EA-Anthropology
(Frank G. Speck)

THE MONTAGNAIS-NASKAPI

Contents
Page
Introduction 1
Designations for the Montagnais-Naskapi 4
Band Distribution and Population 6
Physical Characteristics 9
Language 10
Material Culture 11
Art 18
Archaeological Background 20
Social Organization 23
The Family 23
The Band Grouping 26
Other Social Traits 28
Absence of Motivations of Violence and Warring 30
Religious Beliefs and Practices 32
Bibliography 44

EA-Anthropology
(Frank G. Speck)

THE MONTAGNAIS - NASKAPI
Introduction
The Montagnais-Naskapi Indians, the furthermost northeastern outposts
of the Algonkian linguistic stock, inhabit the extensive region known geo–
graphically as the Labrador Peninsula. Their total population is estimated
to be about 4,500 in a land area of over half a million square miles. The
inhabited terrain of the Montagnais-Naskapi covers most of the land mass
lying between latitudes 47° and 57°N., and longitudes 57° and 77°W., in
extent approximately 800 miles north and south and 1,000 east and west.
The culture as well as speech of the Montagnais-Naskapi Indian groups
is basically uniform and differentiated from that of the Labrador Eskimos
who exist in dwindling groups bordering them on the Atlantic coast, Ungava
Bay, Hudson Strait to Cape Wolstenholme, and southward to about Richmond Gulf
on Hudson Bay. In both culture and speech, however, they show relationship
with the Algonquin proper, Ojibwa and Cree inhabiting the regions north of
the Great Lakes to James and Hudson Bay.
The range of the groups whose culture is here outlined embraces the three
life zones of Merriam with their biota of characteristic plant and animal forms.
The arctic life zone, the treeless tundra biome, extends somewhat irregularly
from 52° to 58° N. to the end of land at Hudson Strait. Its northern portion
is reported uninhabited by either Indians or Eskimos. South of this the Hudsonian

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

zone with its transcontinental coniferous forest biome (Shelford), or
boreal forest (Weaver and Clements), is the habitat of caribou-hunting
bands known as northern Naskapi. Below them in the Canadian life zone,
from 48° to 52° N., and more distinctly in the same biome with the eastern
association of fir, spruce, and moose [] moose , and more varied plant growths, dwell
the populations known as Montagnais covering the whole St. Lawrence watershed
to the river and gulf of that name.
The interior plateau of Labrador has been long exposed to denudation by
glaciers and unsqual weathering of component rocks which with severity of
climatic extremes renders the land unfit for a dense animal and plant popula–
tion. A nature-governed equilibrium of the human and lower animal population
inevitably results, making existence precarious and difficult for both.
Natural environment in the case of the Montagnais-Naskapi has imposed serious
handicaps upon certain aspects of their cultural development which go beyond
the securing of food. The irregularity of subsistence drawn solely from wold
animal resources in the northern forest zone leaves its inhabitants facing
the seasonal menace of annihilation of whole families through starvation –
the "silent enemy" of boreal mankind.
The origin of the Montagnais-Naskapi remains a matter of conjecture.
No migration legend exists. Some acceptable evidences of linguistic affinity
with the Cree and Ojibwa, and of physical resemblances with the Athabaskan
groups of the Northwest lead to a supposition that ancestors of the Labradorean
Indians may have drifted northeast in the last half millenium from some area
north of the Great Lakes around the southern shores of James and Hudson bays.
In this locale they may have had contact associations with Eskimo groups. The
Indian penetration of the Labrador peninsula seems to have followed a re s treat

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

of northern inland-dwelling Eskimos to the Atlantic coast at no very remote
period, and the expulsion of the latter from the southeastern coasts by
about 1650. These are, however, questions which cannot be settled on exist–
ing grounds of knowledge. Future archaeological exploration may provide
their solution.
The historical perspective is a relatively long one, reaching back to
contacts in the early 17th century between the Montagnais of the St. Lawrence
coast and the French R e é collet missionaries, 1615 to shortly after 1625, the
Jesuits, 1625 through most of the 18th century, and the Oblates through the
19th century. The bands in James Bay region were touched by Albanel (Jesuit)
in 1671-72, while D'Olbeau (R e é collect) penetrated to the Labrador Eskimos in
1636. Following this were Moravian attempts in 1752 which did not succeed
until 1771 when the first Eskimo mission was established on the coast at Nain.
The Jesuit Relations describe early conditions of life among the Montagnais in
considerable detail, and the oblates of the 19th century produced important
linguistic contributions. By this time the aegis of authorship passed from
the hands of French ecclesiasts to those of explorers, adventurers, naturalists,
sportsmen, and some traders who wrote in English. Among them the contributions
of Cartwright (1793), Hind (1863), and Turner (1894), constitute first-hand
sources of reference to the peninsula and its inhabitants. Only in the 20th
century did a few ethnologists turn attention to the field, and it is largely
from their published studies that any scientific details of the picture of
native life can be drawn. The statements and abstracts given in the following
sketch are from the writer's source material on the Montagnais-Naskapi unless
otherwise indicated.

EA-Anthrop. Spe c k: The Montagnais-Naskapi

Designations for the Montagnais-Naskapi
It has long been the habit of writers to designate two major tribal
groupings of the Indians of the Labrador peninsula, calling them either
Montagnais or Naskapi. This usage calls for some corrective treatment, by
repeating the circumstances emphasized in previous articles by the writer,
and rejecting the less critical terminology which erroneously implies the
existence of two distinct kinds of people in the actually homogeneous but
locally variable native population. Three larger geographical groupings may
indeed by made. One of these areas lies in the districts on the east side
of James Bay and embraces the bands from East Main and Rupert's House to Lake
Mistassini where dialect and life-supporting activity are somewhat at variance
with the rest of the peninsula. Some of the ethnological characteristics of
these people show enough affinity with the Cree across the bay to have induced
ethnologists to list them as Eastern Cree. Closer testing of these character–
istics indicates that their affinities mentioned lie as much toward the east
with the Labradorean peoples proper as with the Cree. Another grouping is
made on the basis that the height of land forms a boundary which separates
the northern bands, denoted by the term Naskapi, from the so-called Montagnais who
inhabit the drainage division southward to the Gulf of St. Lawrence and east–
ward to the Strait of Belle Isle. It is now decided that the inhabitants of
the northern interior and the southern coasts are both in speech and culture
basically identical, even making allowances for our meager knowledge of their
dialects and eco-ethnic variations. The three subdivisions referred to may,
however, be kept as such for convenience in general reference.
The term Naskapi is not a tribal proper name. It is derived from the
epithet nask a á pi ( nask e é pi ) meaning a person who is crude in manner of life,

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

"uncivilized" and un-Christianized, equivalent to "barbarian". The people
known popularly as Naskapi do not respond to the name. Their own self-name
is Nenenot or I Í not, meaning "men." The so-called Montagnais are their sophis–
ticated congeners, who likewise denote themselves as "men," i í lnuts , in their
dialect. Dating from Cartwright's time (circa 1775) and continued by Hind
(1863) and Turner (1894) the term Naskapi has appeared as Nasquapee, Naskopi,
Skoffie, and variant spellings of the general epithet, mostly from the pens
of English writers. The term Montagnais ("people of the mountains") was
initiated by early French missionary explorers, and when used by English
authors, was translated into "Mountaineers". The term is not to be confused
with the Athabaskan Montagnais or Montagnards in the Northwest Territories.
The hyphenated proper name Montgnais-Naskapi is now the accepted
designation for the Algonkian-speaking Indian popu o l ations of the Labrador
peninsula at large. Referring to the common tendency among writers, both
scientific and popular (upon whom Turner and Hind exerted some influence),
to enumerate two "tribal" divisions in the area, namely the Montagnais and
the Naskapi, Hallowell (1929) says:
"The more we get to know about these Indians the clearer it becomes that
this differentiation is arbitrary, if not actually misleading. They are
indeed slight differences in language and culture to be encountered as we go
from north to south as well as from west to east. But in neither of these
directions is it possible to draw a hard and fast line between bands on any
linguistic or ethnological basis and say, these Indians are Naskapi and those
Montagnais. The lack of tribal organization is anoth e r factor which also makes
it meaningless to speak exclusively in terms of any separate grouping... at
present it seems more rational [: ] either to refer to the different bands by name,

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

thus localizing them according to extent of their hunting territories, or,
in speaking inclusively, to use the hyphenated term Montagnais-Naskapi".
Band Distribution and Population
When alluding to themselves, the Montagnais-Naskapi make a general distinction between those
bands which hold hunting territories in the interior plateau of the penin–
sula and those which frequent the coastal regions of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Those of the interior designate themselves as "Interior Forest People" while
the coastal groups are known as "Seacoast People." The distinction comes
nearest to distinguishing those termed Montagnais and those known as Naskapi
in the terminology of writers. The designations carry no social differentia–
tion, being purely geographical with, however, in recent times some differences
in the degree of sophistication brought about by contact with Christianity and
the extent of acculturation resulting from dependence upon the trading posts.
According to a survey of the habitat areas of the geographical band units
made by the writer between 1910 and 1936, there are twenty-six groupings –
including one which Dr. W. D. Strong has added. From the southwestern portion
of the peninsula to the northern and northeastern terminus of Indian occupancy
the following list enumerates the divisions, with translations of their proper
names, given by band members, in quotes.
Lake St. John band, "flat lake people"; Chicoutimi band, "head of the
tide people"; Tadousac band, "gulf, or steep river mouth people"; Escoumains
band, "river of clam brooks, or clam river people"; Bereimis band, "coming out
of the interior to coast people"; Godbout band, "whirlpool people"; Shelter
Bay band, "mossy portage people"; Ste. Marguerite band, "river parallel with
hills people"; Moisie band, "big river people"; Mingan band, "where something

EA- [: ] Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

(whales?) is washed ashore people"; Natashkwan band, "hunt bear people";
Musquarro, or Romaine River, band, "red paint river people"; St. Augustin
band, "bastard, or fatherless boy, river people"; Northwest River band,
"outlet, or foot of lake people"; Davis Inlet band, (proposed by Dr. Strong
with same proper name as preceding); Michikamau band, "great lake people";
Petisikapau band, "lake narrow in middle people"; Kaniapiskau band, "lake
with rocky point people"; Nichikun band, "otter hunting people"; Mistassini
band, "great rock people"; Rupert House band, "on the other side of sea,
salt water, or salt water house people"; East Main band, "east main people";
Big River band, "big river people"; White Whale River band, "white whale
river people"; Ungava band, "far-away forest people"; Barren Ground band,
"barren ground river people."
It would be difficult to assign a date to the origin of these bands.
Some of them check etymologically and geographically with those given by the
early missionaries and explorers, while some others in the western or James
Bay districts seem to trace derivation from the names of Hudson's Bay Company
posts established in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Historical
perspectives are exceedingly difficult to draw where native s mobility has
been so great through long continued influences of the fur trade and through
changes in abundance and migration of animal food resources.
That band constituency is undergoing change without let-up was evident
throughout the period of the writer's field investigation. Through marriage
out of the band, epidemics, and family migration due to decline of fur
trapping and hunting, especially in districts where white encroachment has
affected natural conditions, some of the bands on the Gulf coast have
dwindled to insignificance as others have become augmented.

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

Writers, traders and post officials almost without exception have
commented upon the rapid decline in numbers of the natives throughout the
peninsula. The Indians themselves share this opinion and attributed their
fate to the change of culture brought about by the attempt to live in the
white man's way. The Jesuit documents of the earliest missionaries express
the same lament concerning the rapid decline of the natives through disease,
alcoholism, and starvation. Disappearance of game — in this case chiefly
the caribou — is always cited as an important factor. With all this in
mind, it is of interest to compare the two lists below giving the numbers
of the Indians at the various posts in 1857 and in 1924. (Spellings are
given as in the sources referred to.)
Indian Population of Labrador Peninsula in 1857 (from estimate given
in Report of Committee on Hudson's Bay Company, Appendix 11, 1857);
Tadousac, 100; Chicoutimi, 100; Lake St. John, 250; Isle Jeremie, 250;
Godbout, 100; Seven Islands, 300; Mingan, 500; Musquarro, 100; Matashquan, 100;
Northwest River, 100; Fort Nascopie, 200; Rigolet, 100; Kibokok, 100; Great
Whale River, 250; Little Whale River, 250; Fort George, 200; Rupert's House,
250; Mistassinni, 200; Temiskaming, 75; Woswonaby, 150; Pike Lake, 80;
Nitchequon, 80; Caniapiscow, 75. Total 3,910.
Population of Montagnais-Naskapi in 1924 ( from Census of Indians and
Eskimos in Canada
, Dept. of Indian Affairs, Ottawa, 1924): East Main, 251;
Fort George, 479; Great Whale River, 100; Namiska (James Bay), 152; Neoskwaso
(James Bay), 140; Rupert's House, 262; Fort Ch 8 i mo, 213; Georges River, 36;
Port Burwell, 152; Whale River, 57; Northwest River, 308; Mistassini Lake, 159;
Waswanipi, 177; Natashkwan, 74; Romaine, 156; Ste. Augustine, 34; Seven Islands
agency, 380; Montagnais of Pte. Bleue (Lake St. John), 773; Mingan, 152;
Bersimis, 565; Escoumains, 27. Total, 4,648.

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais_Naskapi

Physical Characteristics
The only published sources on the physical anthropology of the Labrador
Indians are those of Hallowell (1929) presenting data obtained in the field
in 1923 and 1924, and Strong (published by Stewart, 1939). Strong in 1927
and 1928 obtained measurements on 11 males and 7 females of the Barren Ground
and Davis Inlet bands of Montaignais-Naskapi. Hallowell's measurements were
made on 41 males and 29 females at the Seven Islands and Natasquan posts of
the Hudson's Bay Company. They represented the following local bands of
Montagnais-Naskapi: Ste. Marguerite, Moisie, Ungava, Michikamau, Nichicun,
Shelter Bay, Natasquan, Northwest River, Mistassini and Lake St. John.
Hallowell also made use of measurements of Montagnais taken by Boas in 1895
and a few additional cranial measurements of Montagnais from Lake St. John
taken by Michelson and Speck. His material, scanty as it is, afforded a
basis for comparison with Eskimo and Indian measurements.
Abstracting from Hallowell's study the essential conclusions may be
briefly summed up as follows. The available data under analysis do not
indicate that the Montagnais-Naskapi show features unequivocally traceable
to Eskimo admixture. They represent a fairly homogeneous type clearly dis–
tinguishable from their neighbors the Labrador Eskimos. Compared with the
latter they are taller, their heads are broader, both absolutely and in
proportion to their length, their faces are broader and shorter, their noses
are broader, their mandibular breadth is less although it is greater than
that of other Eskimos. The hypsicephalic character of the Eskimo skull is
a feature not shared by the Labrador Indians. Hallowell's investigation
confirms the idea expressed by previous students of physical types in the
East that marked differences distinguish the Indians north of the St. Lawrence

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

from those south of it. The former have shorter stature, are more brachy–
cephalic, and probably have broader faces than the latter. In respect to
admixture with whites, Hallowell defines the Labrador Indians as representing
an aboriginal type of physique, "not pure in the sense that no mixture has
ever taken place, but nevertheless conserving in a large percentage of
individuals what are essentially Indian characteristics."
The closest racial affiliations are traced on the whole with the
brachycephalic peoples to the westward, perhaps those speaking Athapaskan
tongues.
Language
In the over-all classification of Algonkian languages the dialects
constituting the group known as Montagnais-Naskapi have been historically
linked with the Cree by Michelson (1913) in a comparative study of the stock.
He observes that Montagnais is practically the same language as Cree, inferring
that the idioms spoken by those bands we know as Naskapi come under the same
caption. Michelson places Cree-Montagnais in the subdivision as Algonkian
languages which he calls the Central subtype which comprises also Menominee,
Sauk, Fox, Kickapoo, and Shawnee. Regarded historically it would seem that
the distinctions between Montagnais-Naskapi and Cree dialectic groups are
not far-reaching enough to point to a very long period of separation of the
two groups east and west of James Bay. Ethnic similarities also point in
the same direction.
There are minor variations in idiom, vocabulary meanings, and especially
phonetic usages in the dialects spoken by the Labrador brands ranging from
Rupert's House on James Bay (classified by Skinner as Cree but corrected by

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

Michelson to be included with Montagnais) to those spoken on the northern
and southeastern coasts. The tongues of the whole area are mutually intelli–
gible as the sound shifts are not radical, which is a convenience for inter–
preters. Thus in the northern and eastern bands the lateral l is wanting,
being replaced by n in the northern and eastern interior in what is generally
terms Naskapi territory, by y in the dialects of the James Bay area. A few
of the word forms for food animals and the endings denoting plurality in the
Naskapi dialects of the northeast approach in form those of the Labrador
Eskimos but these do not go far enough to indicate any genetic relationship
between the two linguistic stocks.
Since the establishment of missions and trading posts in the peninsula,
graphic systems have crept into use among the Montagnais-Naskapi. The
bands of the Gulf of St. Lawrence coast, Catholicized by the French, have
acquired a modified European script which is almost universally known among
young and old. In the northern interior and along the western coast of the
peninsula in the drainage area of James Bay, which has long been under
Anglican influence, the Cree syllabary is employed in religious tracts and
even in message writing. The latter system has been extending its range
eastward to the northern Naskapi bands as far as Ungava in recent times.
The Montagnais-Naskapi dialects contain few terms denoting objects and
ideas of European origin taken over directly from French or English.
Cultural innovations are covered by descriptive terms using native radicals.
Material Culture
In the Labrador area Indian subsistence depends exclusively upon
hunting, trapping and fishing. The equipment of the chase includes the
5 to 7 foot simple flat bow of spruce or tamarack and arrows with bone

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

points doubly barbed. The crossbow is found as a target weapon among all
the bands. Arrow points are frequently merely sharpened bone splinters
inserted into the thickened outer end of the shaft. The arrow feathering,
and the so-called Mediterranean form of arrow release, suggest Eskimo
relationship in their derivation. A lance with bone point for spearing
caribou and beaver, a fish spear (leister) for torching salmon, and the
toggle-head harpoon (though lacking the foreshaft) for salmon and seals,
also indicate a similar common source. The spear thrower ( atlatl ) is
unknown to the Montagnais-Naskapi. The man's knife, the usual circumboreal
crooked knife with an iron blade, is in universal use in making these things.
Its archaeological background has been reconstructed by Collins (1943).
Gill nets, supposedly of European origin, made of rawhids or of commercial
twince with shuttles of European type, and gullet fishhooks of bone which
have to be swallowed by the fish, are universally employed in the area.
Snares and deadfalls to kill food animals and fur bearers are in constant
service. (Cooper, 1938, Lips, 1936). Among the northern bands, when and
where caribou are abundant, the drive method for mass killing is resorted
to by the hunters — under the communal system — who drive the animals
into a cul de sac or into the water; sometimes the caribou are driven within
a fenced area formed by bending small trees top to base making partly
cleared lanes leading to the water where they are speared from canoes. (Turner).
Hunter scouts observe the massing of the animals from look-out trees.
This archaic method of killing hoofed game is practised throughout the
intercontinental taiga region. Hunting by stalking with a head-decoy of
caribou or wolf head skin is well known.
In transportation, the bark canoe and the man-drawn toboggan are part
of every hunter's furnishings; in later times the wooden-runner sled drawn

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais_Naskapi

by dogs has been used by the Montagnais who are in contact with the French.
The bands in the southern part of the peninsula have adopted the French
manner of dog driving to built-up sleds; the dogs are harnessed with shafts
and collars and arranged in tandem; the bands of the north and east have
adopted the Eskimo fashion with the dogs harnessed fanwise, each with its separate
trace leading to the sled. Dog moccasins of leather protect their feet from
being cut by crusted snow. Historically considered, dog traction is evidently
of both French and Eskimo derivation. Above all in importance in winter
hunting is the very broad, rounded snowshoe. A narrower "plank snowshoe"
(spruce or birch) is made for use in thawing snow time in spring. The snowshoe
stands forth so prominently in the whole area that Birket-Smith speaks of it
as a snowshoe-culture area.
Birch-bark canoes are in constant daily use for fishing and getting
about when water is open. In construction (moderately elevated ends, gunwales,
ribs, and lengthwise strips of filling between them and the bark shell, spruce–
root sewing and seam pitching with resin) as well as form and habits of use, the
canoes are virtually alike all over the peninsula. They correspond strikingly
across the entire boreal forest area of the North. Canvas covering has exten–
sively supplanted the use of bark. When used in rocky streams, where a shoving
pole may be needed also, the canoe may temporarily have protective outside strips
of wood lashed to its bottom. In favorable winds blanket sail is erected on
paddles or uprights. Among Montagnais bands, a temporary canoe of several
moose hides sewed end to end over a makeshift framework is used only for
descending rivers on the spring trip to the rendezvous, to be dismantled when
destination is reached. No notice of the dugout canoe is on record for the area.
Practically no one learns to swim due to the coldness of the water, but hunters

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

sometimes cross deep streams, attempting to swim by means of thin plaques of
wood used as hand paddles.
Clothing of the Montagnais-Naskapi is of several materials. One type
is of hare-skin strips, woven on a loom in the knotless loop technique and
made into sweater-like jackets with hoods, and into leggings, wrist bands,
neck bands, sraps, separate sleeves, socks, and sleeping robes. Until re–
cently the isolated Naskapi also made winter clothing of whitened caribou–
skin hooded and sleeved long-coats, and leggings with detached moccasins of
the gathered-vamp type, all bearing painted designs; except for moccasins,
these are almost obsolete in the Montagnais area. Montagnais-Naskapi tanning, as
among other Indian groups, is done with animals' brains, the leather smoked
brown to make it washable. Caribou skin unsmoked, hence unwashable, and
exposed to intense cold to make it almost white is made by Naskapi bands of
the extreme north into the outer clothing which is decorated with painted
designs. Soft tanning with or without the hair is a perfected technique
among all the band divisions.
The men mostly have their hair bobbed at the neck, some wearing it long
and confined except for a rag or band to keep it out of the eyes. Tattooing
of lines on chin and arms is reported by Hind (1853). Combs are made of wood
and comb cleaners of porcupine tails. Women wear their hair wrapped in little
wooden blocks hanging over each ear. Women also wear red and black caps of
fine cloth; men often wear a leather cap with a visor. Feathers are never
worn by either sex.
Household furnishings consist of the ubiquitous birch-bark containers,
baskets and pails, food vessels and trays, most of them ornamented with con–
ventional etched designs. Bags and pouches of many varied forms are made of

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

mammal and bird skin with the pelage and plumage left on. Caribou leg-skins
sewed lengthwise form bags to hold dry food, traps, and other possessions.
No cordage of vegetable fiber or roots, grass baskets (as among the
Labrador Eskimos), or any form of textile weaving aside from rabbit skin
garments and blankets, have so far been noted in the Labrador region. All
lines and attachments are of leather or rawhide (babiche).
Shelter is provided by the conical, many-poled birch-bark wigwam in
the southern area, while among the northern bands in whose zone birch bark
cannot be secured, it is of soft-tanned caribou skin. These lodges are
practically identical with bark and skin houses ( tcum ) of the Paleo-Asiatic
Siberian reindeer area — an unbroken sequence from Asia to America. In the
area where birch bark is used, three rows of bark encircle the wigwam from
bottom to top. The dome-shaped lodge of skin and later of canvas is also
general among the northern and eastern bands. Heat and light in the camps
come from wood fires. A noteworthy feature here is the hunter's temporary
shelter, an open-topped, head-high windbreak of canvas or skin thrown about
the wigwam poles. Protection from the cold and wind depends solely upon
immense fires of deadwood built within a trench cleared of snow with a
wooden snow shovel.
While the conical skin wigwam is an all the year shelter among the
northern bands, a diversity of house types occurs in the forested area of
the southern watershed. For winter housing here the Montagnais families
build a structure with log s l ides waist or shoulder high, banked up to pre–
vent wind and ground drift of snow, rectangular in floor plan, with a gabled
roof shingled with large slabs of birch or spruce bark. The source of this
type of house may possibly be traced to whites, yet the log understructure is

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

reported elsewhere in the northeast, and house squares sometimes slightly
excavated are visible on ancient camping sites. Other modifications in camp
structure appear in conical wigwams of spruce bark and planks, logs or slabs crowded
together around the sides then covered with a thick thatch of boughs of conifers
so as to be weathertight and almost rainproof. Flooring is universally of
meticulously laid spruce or balsam boughs upon which spare hides (now blankets
or canvas) are spread for bedding and seating places. The bark or bough covered
lean-to is widespread in the hunting grounds. Small frame houses are now built
and owned at the mission and trading centers by families who sojourn there.
Tent or wigwam shelters are occupied by them now only in the winter hunting
excursions or as temporary trappers' camps.
Food economy of the Montagnais-Naskapi is definitely limited to wild
animal resources — large and small mammals, wild fowl and their eggs, and
fish. Flash of fur bearers, all birds, and nutritious organisms in the animal,
plant, and fungus realms are eaten during the oft-recurring, constantly imminent
periods of famine. The diet is supplemented by wild berried in season, extra
quantities being dried for later use. Salt-water animal life is disdained
habitually by the inland bands, but those on the coast take seals, eat cast-up
whales, and consume shellfish, as the shell deposits at estuaries and heads of
coves on the Gulf of St. Lawrence coast mutely attest. Clams are there abundant
but the belief is generally held that they are poisonous in summer.
Food is prepared by roasting on spits and leaning-sticks driven into the
ground or snow before open fires of deadwood, or boiled in metal vessels obtained
now through trade, formerly and even yet when necessary in folded birch-bark
containers suspended by pothooks of wood or withes over living embers. Those
who eat flesh in the raw state are despised creatures below the status of real me

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

Intestinal contents of animals, both mammals and fish, are at times, however,
taken raw by starving hunters, and the same has been reported in respect to
blood of freshly killed caribou. Viscera of herbivorous animals (caribou,
beaver, porcupine especially), cooked beaver and muskrat tails, caribou and
moose noses and foetuses are delicacies. Milk and vegetables are neither
known, desired, nor supplied by traders. Surplus animal flesh is sun-dried
on racks, and fish are split and dried to be used during shortages.
Tools and implements are largely of bone and antlers. Among these are
harpoons, arrowheads, fish-barbs, skinning tools of bear tibia cut obliquely,
scrapers of caribou leg-bone sharpened at one side for removing hair from
hides, grease scrapers for work on hides of the same bone cut obliquely and
notched at the end, snowshoe needles, awls, knives, meat picks, perforators,
bell-shaped hand mauls for cracking bones to secure marrow, needle cases, bag
fasteners, and pipe cleaners. It is indicative of an early phase of industry
that the bone-edged tools are often not hafted but are used in the bare hand.
In woodwork there are shallow oval bowls, spoons with flat wide bowls, drinking
cups with toggle fastening for belt, needles for weaving hare-skin garments
and robes, net needles, canoe mallets, knife and awl handles, and net floats,
long for open water in summer, short for use beneath the ice. Among recent
manufacturers iron has come into use for the crooked-knife blade, "semi-lunar"
scraper (Eskimo ulu type) used on seal skins, awl point, and European file and ax.
Stone implements are restricted to hand mauls for breaking caribou bones
and pounding meat, net sinkers and whetstones, and the thin-walled, slate
tobacco pipes with a keel base. On pre-European camp sites we find the curved
edge stone gouge, a slightly grooved ax, slate points and large chipped blades
of quartzite and quartz, evidently knives and scapers. The stone missiles are

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

usually stemmed, resembling those of the Eskimos.
Animal fat is extensively consumed both raw and cooked, this and oils
being kept in bags made of animal intestines, bladders, and among coastal
bands, of seal stomachs.
Water for drinking is melted from snow in winter. Tree sap is used to
sweeten drinks in the bush life, commercial sugar and salt when obtainable
through trade. Alcoholic drinks are avoided as beverages by many of the
remote hunters, but indulgence to excess when "fire water" is accessible is
habitual among Indians resident at the posts and mission stations on the
coasts. All tobacco used is in the form of "twist." Its scarcity and cost
prevents smoking to excess. The chewing of tobacco has not been taken over.
The smoking of tobacco and imbibing of spirituous liquors have entered into
the category of a sacrament reserved by devout hunters to serve the purpose
of an inflatus to their soul-spirts, by acting upon the heart and circulation,
which intensifies their spiritual power to overcome animals required for
subsistence. (See Religious Beliefs.)
Finally to be noted is the method followed everywhere of the preservation
of extra supplies of food, clothing, and equipment on scaffolds of logs (caches)
placed in full view near routes of travel or at hunting stations. Such stores
of vitally important goods are never violated by others except under extreme
necessity, in which case restitution is invariably made later as a volun t ary
moral obligation.
Art
Art often goes far toward expressing the inner, finer qualities of a
people. With Montagnais-Naskapi a rigorous life struggle seems to act as an
incentive to aesthetic development, for their art life is profusely and
insistently shown as it is among the Eskimos who surround them on three sides.

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Between the two, however, there are few correspondences in art technique or
designing unless possibly there has been some carrying over of Indian motifs
into Eskimo regions, as Birket-Smith and Jenness have reported. Labrador
Indian decoration includes painting with mineral pigments on caribou skin
clothing, personal effects, and household utensils of wood and bone among the
northern bands — the so-called Naskapi. Beadwork has lately been introduced
through supplies brought in by traders. Among the southern bands, the Montagnais
of the Subarctic where the canoe or paper birch tree abounds have well-developed
techniques of etching designs, both by incising and sgraffito, on containers
and domestic utensils of birch bark peeled in the spring. Beadwork and silk
embroidery have also come in more extensively through proximity with trading
centers. The use of symmetrical double curves, done either in narrow lines
or in broad bands, in painting, bark etching, and in later beadwork, expresses
the basic pattern of decorative art throughout the Algonkian-speaking North.
It distinguishes this art province from others on the continent southward has
and westwart except in certain areas where its influence in decoration has
been felt. The ubiquity of technique, form, and stylism throughout the whole
circumpolar belt from Asia f t o North America has challenged the attention of
students of art history and strengthenes the theories of intercontinental common
elements. Geometrical figures, zigzags, triangles, diamonds, crowded parallel
lines, squares, and dot ornaments also enrich the design register of the
Montagnais-Naskapi. These art forms are too universally distributed over
the rest of the continent to be particularly distinctive of the groups in
question.
Symbolical interpretation of decorative patterns varies with individuals,
as questioning has shown. In some of the southern bands there is an art

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

tradition that associates itself with floral forms, and occasional prophy–
lactic functions are associated with their use. Other designs are placed
on articles possessed by the hunter and his family to affort satisfaction
to animals slain to supply food and resources. Whatever in Nature gives itself
to the use of mankind, as it was ordained by the supreme Creator or Owner,
derives compensating satisfaction upon the demise of an animal, through being
thought of with gratitude, and through being depicted in art. The ap pa inted
skin clothing of the Naskapi is thus propitiatory when worn by the hunter of
animals. This is a ruling folk tradition in representative art of the Montagnais–
Naskapi. Designs accordingly have spiritual control power, are of dream deriva–
tion in many instances, and also serve as fetishes in the usual sense of the term.
Porcupine-quill and moose-hair embroidery, as a mong the Algonkians to the south–
ward, and sculptural carvings in the round as among the Eskimos on the north
and east, are wanting, and pictography as among groups in the Great Lakes
area is only moderately prominent.
There is no valid evidence that any techniques of porcupine-quill decora–
tion on either leather or birch bark are known to any bands of the Montagnais–
Naskapi, although a Labrador race of the animal ( Erethizon dorsatus ) occurs
in the forested portions of the peninsula as far north as the height of land
and even beyond. The flesh of the porcupine is eaten and its bristly tail is
converted into a hair brush and comb cleaner throughout this whole area and
the regions westward.
Archaeological Background
Treatment of the prehistory of the Labradorean area must be brief the Because of the the
paucity of published source material. Aside from reports describing archaeological
sites along the Gulf of St. Lawrence coast eastwar t d to the Atlantic littoral and

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along the east coast of the peninsula northward to Nain, no r thing exists in
adequate form upon which to base conclusions in regard to sequence of occupa–
tion, racial make-up of former populations, or changes in pattern of material
life. No region of such size on the continent has been less explored. The
field work of Wintemberg, Leechman, Strong, and Bird, some of it as yet
unpublished, constitutes the source matter from which information can be
drawn.
Dr. W.A. Ritchie has recently concisely summarized the available data and
formulated some conclusions from which abstractions may be made (Ritchie, 1946).
Referring to a study by Spaulding, he points out that the basic cultural complex
of the coniferous forest belt of the Northeast should be traceable to a simlar
ecological milieu in Siberia extending across the boreal zone of the Old World
into Scandinavia. He observes that, as part of the Laurentian Aspect, it may
"conform to the postulated basis ice-fishing culture of Birket-Smith and to
the paleo-Algonkian stratum, so consistently argued by Spe d c k, except that a
marked brachycephalic factor evidently characterized the Laurentian population."
(Ritchie, 1946, p. 103). He further accepts the idea of a still earlier,
relatively simple non-agricultural level, also without pottery, metal and
smoking pipes, carried by a dolichocephalic people (referring to the physical
type south of the St. Lawrence prior to the incursion of [: ] broader-headed
types) in the north almost as far east as the Atlantic coast. Some Eskimo
analogies appear, though not so strongly as in the Laurentian complex, and
both may be derived from a common parentage of Asiatic origin. Furthermore,
he thinks, "The physical e lement of the Algonkian north of the St. Laurence may
be much older in the Wabanaki territory south of the river [: ] than previously
suspected; in fact may have been submerged and overlain by a second infiltration

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of long-heads." His final recapitulation states that the Canadian forests
apparently sent forth a different physical and cultural alliance on the heels
of the early Lamoka dolichocephalic contingent. These were a brachycephalic
people equipped with stone gouges, ground slate cutting tools, "plummets,"
and bone harpoons of the Laurentian complex, who in the postulated Archaic
time period worked their way southward into New England and in diminishing
numbers still farther south. Not until examination of camp and dwelling
sites in the interior of Labrador have been reported — and the task of
exploration will be troublesome, difficult and expensive — will it become
possible to resolve the puzzling prehistoric set-up to a plausible solution.
As Spaulding recapitulates the situation, the vague Siberian Neolithic
and the total lack of information from most of the Canadian forest zone are
an effective barrier to final conclusions, yet the prehistoric Stone Age in
Labrador and Newfoundland has been shown to be a relatively old and widespread
Laurentian complex. An important aspect of the laurentian problem is the matter
of Eskimo influence, as indicated by presence in the former of ground slate
points, "semi-lunar" knives, and some other traits shared with the Dorset
Culture. Whether this interchange took place in the eastern Arctic at a
relativ e ly late date, or at an earlier period somewhere in central Canada as
Speck and Jenness have surmised (Spaulding,1946, pp.165-67), where Laurentian
has not been found, is a problem for the future. In any case "the Laurentian
appears to be closely connected with an old, and probably basic level of boreal
Algonkian culture because of its relatively early chronological position and its
prominence in the archaic Algonkian area" (Spaulding, ibid. 166).

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Social Organization
The Family . The basis of Montagnais-Naskapi social organization, so far
as such may be said to exist in the almost formless societal communities of
these mobile hunters, lies in the loosely united grouping of the extended family.
As a unit of affiliation the family traces its biological descent from both
paternal and maternal lineages. It includes also married-in and adopted
members and such collaterals in its generations as may be induced by circum–
stances to cast in their lot with a family head, thus constituting a group of
near kin. No form of unilateral clan or gens lineage, of exogamy, ritual
privilege or exclusive ceremonial observances, or any ideological "totemistic"
attributes clusters about the family grouping. The families, however, in most
cases carry proper names derived from male ancestors through a run of genera–
tions and to this extent answer to a weak patrilineal classification. The
newly married couple resides usually with the husband's family (patrilocality).
Furthermore, the family acknowledges by customary procedure the leadership of a
male patriarch, whose counsel is sought and followed in matters pertaining to
social usage and in particular to hunting movements. Such an elder usually,
formerly invariably, possesses power over spiritual forces in greater or less
degree as shamans.
The position of the family in the social-economic framework of the Montagnais
bands occupying the coniferous forest area (taiga) south of the height of land is
of paramount importance. For each family here holds inherited proprietary rights
in a specified tract of land for the purposes of hunting, trapping, and other
life-supporting activities, the tracts being known as family "hunting territories"
by ethnologists and in the native dialects as well. Free land is nonexistent and
there is no free-land hunting or trapping as among the Eskimos nor is there terra

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

incognita. A brief summarization of the characteristics of the family hunting
territory system shows the following list of traits:
(1) The allotment of the land tracts in severalty to the family groups
is traced to a mythical origin, to the era of assignment of life characters
to animals and man by the Supreme Being or "Owner." Mankind was subdivided
into groups of kindred each receiving its terrain in severalty to reside in
perpetually. (2) The supernaturally ordained source of land tenure rights
means that the family hunting grounds are inalienable outside the family
through sale, encroachment, or conquest, insuring them and their posterity
of a place on earth to live in as long as the family exists. (3) The
boundaries of the family districts are well known geographically by all the
males of the kin group, and are sometimes marked by "blaze" signs and picto–
graphic symbols on birch bark as well as fairly accurate cartographic chartings.
(4) Trespass into another family's district, especially when accompanied by
looting of "caches," is considered a social wrong and is resented as a serious
violation of accepted "social law." Physical retaliation, however, is not
sanctioned, yet by resort to conjuring bad luck or other misfortune may be
brought upon offenders as a punitive measure. (5) When a family is unable
to exploit their usufruct, then the tract ownership reverts to the nearest of
genic kin (in some cases to kith). (6) Conservation of the animal resources
[: ] in the family hunting districts is intelligently practiced to insure con–
tinuity of the food supply for present and future exploitation. The "quarter
system" of rotation of subdivided areas of the whole tract allows a rest
period for the animal stock to breed and recuperate. In short the policy of
"cropping" not "mining" of life resources is rigidly maintained. (7) Family
size varies from dwindling units of half a dozen persons to a dozen or more.

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(8) The hunting grounds are inherited more commonly in the male line from
father to sons; should there be none of the latter surviving, then to sons–
in-law, or to widows as an inducement to remarriage. In each band there
are some few individuals who have no hunting grounds, living like vagabonds,
gypsy-like, on the bounty of others. (9) An annual family migration from
the hunting grounds takes place at the break-up of winter, leading to a
rendezvous on the shore of a convenient lake, or at the sea coast as has
been the procedure since the founding of the fur-trading and mission centers
on the Atlantic, James Bay, and Gulf of St. Lawrence coasts. Thus a two–
jointed move brings the congregated families together for the short summer
season to foster social intercourse and facilitates contact with the outside
world. By the end of July or in early August the families embark on their
n j ourney of return to the hunting and trapping grounds where the normal winter
life is resumed. The life regime of these summer and winter periods is
widely different in social and economic activities and in diet, corresponding
briefly to the two-phase economic cycle of the Eskimos. (100) Kinship ter–
minology determines the extent of extended family relationships. (The fore–
going outline of the family and its hunting system is not an exhaustive one.
It is drawn up from published accounts and surveys so far completed by Cooper,
Flannery, Davidson, Hallowell, and Speck.)
Dr. J. M. Cooper, after exhaustive analysis of his own and others' inves–
tigations in the field and of historical documents, sums up his view of the
economic-social situation as follows: "It seems reasonably probable, although
not finally established by any means, that the family hunting ground system as
found among the northern Algonquians is in its main lines aboriginal and
pre-Columbian." (Cooper, 1939, p. 89.)

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The Band Grouping . Thus far attention has been devoted only to the
family and its social-economic manifestations as one of the two systems in
vogue among the Montagnais-Naskapi and other holarctic hunting peoples.
This brings us to consideration of the next social category, that of the
local band groupings. In the latter category we find that aggregations of
related families constitute groupings within specified territorial boundaries.
These we designate local bands, known in the speech of the natives as '"Peoples."
These are the band divisions referred to previously as comprising the total
Indian population of the Labrador peninsula, twenty-six in number. The families
comprising the bands recognize a degree of group solidarity which in more or–
ganized levels of culture would constitute "tribes," as the term is ethnolo–
gically defined. The social-economic framework of the band embraces all the
elements of family structure, adding to them the cohesion of a wider classifica–
tion in community of interest, sense of looser relationship, some weak political
princip l as, occasionally recognition of a patriarchal headman or nominal chief,
and a communal ownership of territory including the family holdings. In the
inevitable course of relationship with representatives of the Dominion or
Provincial administration, the office of "chief" has been formally created and
filled by a selected influential family headman in each band, provided that he
be in harmony (voluntarily or by diplomatic coercive policy) with the views and
purposes of the Indian administrative bureau. The Montagnais-Naskapi ordinarily
designate themselves when questioned as to identity by the band names, which
are determined by the geographical locale as will be seen by referring to the
list of bands. They are usually centered in the drainage areas of lakes or
rivers. The number of families constituting a band will range from three or
four to more than three score.

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Two systems of land tenure and exploitation prevail among the Labrador
Indian bands. In the northern (tundra) habitat the barren-ground caribou,
gregarious by nature, is the abundant mainstay of native life and the com–
munal hunting practice, employing the "drive" method, is practised; in the
eastern (taiga) zone the moose, beaver, and woodland caribou are hunted for
food and fur under the more segregated family system. While the bands show
considerable consistency in their respective methods of animal pursuit in
the two environments, there are instances in extreme eastern Labrador where
the Montagnais-Naskapi operate the two systems, the choice depending upon
what they seek and the conditions of season and animal abundance in their
domain. A greater dependence upon the income from fur trapping induces bands
in the southern districts to follow the family hunting ground policy. Here
the game animals are more sedentary, and so are the families. West of James
Bay a similar shift in policy has been reported, and the like is found among
certain Athapaskan g r oups (Cooper). In the buffalo-hunting area of the Great
Plains the communal system took precedence over the other, except on occasions
of famine or stress. In attempting to trace the priority of one of these
systems over the other a question arises which has induced anthropologists to
express views which are still inconclusively settled. More detailed and wide–
spread coverage of the known and still unknown peoples and regions throughout
the sircumboreal belt may furnish a solution. Changes brought about by white
invasion are being effected in the whole sweep of country which confuse the
historical picture as it now stands only partially revealed.
A comparative survey of the ethnic properties of the Montagnais-Naskapi
bands over the whole range of occupancy shows that minor differences, aside
from those of dialect, distinguish them from each other. The differences

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represent only territorial variations, chiefly in respect to social typology,
in land tenure practices, and in the food quest as just outlined, and in
aspects of material culture controlled by ecological circumstances demarking
the habitats of the interior plateau from that of the coasts. They have
never reached down into the fundamentals of culture. A rather close check-up
with the Cree ethnic content is shown and to a lesser degree with that of the
Athapaskans.
Other Social Traits. No ritual ceremonial or related observations are
celebrated in the action of marriage unless it is solemnized by the mission
clergy. There are no regulations pointing to restriction of marriage con–
nections, except in the prohibition of union of the first and second degrees
of kinship. Cross-cousin marriage, however, has been shown as prevalent in
a number of instances (Hallowell). Intermarriage between members of different
families and between the bands is encouraged and, in the case of the latter,
frequent. The mother-in-law avoidance taboo is nowhere in evidence; on the
contrary, the parents-in-law are held in affection. Woman's status while
inferior to man's is by no means a debased one (Burgess 1944). The aged, sick,
and infirm as well as children are treated with care and solicitude. Orphans
are taken into families of near kinship, treated as children, and when able
share in the hunting activities of the foster parents. Berdaches, or trans–
vestites, are recorded among the northern bands and are objects of mild disre–
gard. Boys from the age of about fourteen, if able-bodied, play a man's part
in the economic program of the family. Strangers are neither feared nor
shunned by adults, but are welcomed and expected to share the family resources
temporarily as guests, and are cared for and doctored if sick. Among northern
bands girls at first signs of puberty wear a veil of leather for four days to
cover the eyes and face.

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The concept of social sin denounces lying, (though not "white" lying)
insincerity, theft, miserliness, and in particular violation of rules
against trespass on hunting grounds. Virtue ("good doing" in the native
idioms) consists in avoidance of these acts, but neither sin ("evil doing")
nor virtue involves post-mortem retribution. In respect to the two courses
of life's action the choice is optional with the individual — the Augustinian
idea. Personal qualities socially disliked and tacitly disapproved, less
serious than the preceding, are displays of forwardness, loudness, and
aggressiveness of manner, physical or otherwise. Social control, in brief,
is exerted by the judgments of public opinion through its sanction or dis–
approval — in the latter instance through social ostracism tacitly carried
out. No formal judgments of ethical behavior are provided for unless it be
through censure by the head of a family or band.
With sex problems as such according to European standards the Montagnais–
Naskapi have little concern except where white morals have been impressed upon
them as examples through missionary teaching., Most writers note an increase
in laxity among bands in close contact with Canadian settlers. While the
preferred mating principle is monogamy even among the "unenlightened"
Naskapi of the north, plurality of wives (the sororate) is occasional, pro–
viding support for unmarried or widowed females. Stress conditions play a
forceful part in determining social and ethical behavior. Rationalizing
explanations are always ready at hand among the men to account for what is
customarily done — reasonings often marked by wit and knowledge of life's
demands.
There is little evidence of patterning in events of the individual
life cycle of the Montagnais-Naskapi. Ceremony is lacking in connection with

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

childbirth, naming, death and burial. Names are derived from personal
characteristics, from fore-parents of the same sex, or, since missionary
times, from Biblical patriarchs. Funeral rites are not observed except
among Christian converts. Bodies were wrapped and placed in trees if death
occurred in winter when ground is frozen in the northern districts and
later buried in the ground on hunting territories. Among southern bands
bodies were interred, according to early accounts. The converted Indians make
every effort to make their interments in the church burying ground even if
it requires a long journey with the corpse frozen or boxed. Demonstrations
of grief and mourning are not noted; and people show little dread of approach–
ing death, and the names of the deceased are not tabooed. The people them–
selves regard insanity to have been more prevalent formerly than now, yet
there are numerous instances of it as a source of violence and crime.
Absence of Motivations of Violence and Warring . No evidence of a taste
for warfare for glory or raiding for loot can be discerned in the Montagnais–
Naskapi social set-up, a fast which stands a r t variance with the early French
accounts of the lower Laurentian populations. This change in mie a n , if change
be assumed, may be taken as an example of "moral evolution" often noted in
both early and late periods of national character in changing from violence
and brutality of strife to pacifiam and gentleness. The set-up here is
distinctly antagonistic to struggle and strife, combat and contention,
between individuals as well as collective groupings. Even wrestling, fisti–
cuffs, and game team contests are avoided, one reason being that they may
lead to anger, violence, then injury, which might cause retaliation through
malevolen conjuring. Personal revenge and family feuding are precluded.
In short, these are emphatically not warriors but hunters! With the family

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and band hunting territory system so strongly supported by its religious
ethos and social sanction, the war and raiding ideologies of the related
Cree to the west and of the Athapaskans have found no place in the senti–
ments of the Montagnais-Naskapi as we know them.
As for the extent to which this has gone into personal relationship
conduct, Dr. Julius Lips cites instances of individual resentment against
affront or injury, real or imaginary, being expressed only by patient expec–
tation that spiritual retaliation would sooner or later follow hostile acts
and even thoughts. Another more pragmatic reason is that social opinion would
obligate the man who causes death or disablement of another to assume support
of the victim's family dependents — a sufficient cause for forethought in
interpersonal behaviorism. Among several bands direct questioning reveals
that no case of nonaccidental manslaughter was known in the memory of living
generations.
In no part of the continent can an example be found where beliggerency
is less tolerated than among the Montagnais-Naskapi of the recent area. If,
however, we turn to the period of first historical contact with them we find
missionary and explorer accounts through the late 17th and into the early 18th
century referring to Indian raids against the Labrador Eskimos on the south–
eastern coasts. The attacking of Eskimo camps, killing of the men armed only
with harpoons and bows, and capture of women and children is a tradition of
the country. The feeling of avoidance and mutual distrust seems still to
exist, but has been gradually dissolving during the last generation due to
persuasion toward peaceful relations by the trading post managers.
Hostility between the Montagnais and the Micmac of the Gaspe coast is
also on record, again provoked by the Micmac invaders. Montagnais-Naskapi

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tradition is replete with legends of conflict between themselves and parties
of Iroquois raiders whose incursions into their hunting grounds have left
poignant memories of cruelty.
Religious Beliefs and Practices
The philosophy underlying behavior of these natives in respect to
nature forces and animals is by no means simple in conception. Religious
practices are not complex, ceremonial and ritual performances of the people
being largely restricted to individual acts of divination in respect to the
disposition of animals to sacrifice their lives to men, propitiation for their
slaying, giving satisfaction to them and their spiritual masters (Owners),
and appealing for continuation of animal life-sacrifice for the welfare of
mankind. In short, hunting falls into one of the categories of religious occupation.
Thus, the Montagnais-Naskapi hunters have thought out their problems of
maintenance of the sources of food supply by resorting to spiritual means of
inducing animals killed for sustenance to return to life in the next breeding
season. Of capturing and breeding animals for economic security they have not
even worked out the initial steps. The Montagnais-Naskapi, like other groups
in the American circumboreal belt, have remained in an archaic phase of economy,
that of pursuit and immediate use. Not so, however, in respect to religious
ideologies conceived to insure the supply of vital necessities. Only through
disturbance of the balance of nature following the opening of contact with the
whites and devastation of parts of the home territories due to the same cause
has the traditional faith of the natives failed to save them from want. The
effects of the introduction of Christianity as a substitute for the native
traditional practices will be discussed later.

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Our positive knowledge of this side of aboriginal Labradorean though
can at best be imperfect. Yet what we encounter has much significance.
The individual believes that he has a dual entity - the soul and the
body. The soul is imperishable and transcends the generations of man. It
is called by a term which also means "shadow," but when spoken of in its
functional capacity is referred f t o as "great man," which can be rendered
"companion-being," or "corresponding-being," The soul-spirit is master
of the body, which owes its existence and support to the benevolence of the
soul-spirit. It seems indeed to represent the ego. It may be deliberately
strengthened by the individual, or weakened through neglect. Neglect con–
sists of ignoring its promptings or not complying with its desires - in short,
by not affording it the nourishment it is believed to require. Without it
man is an inert mass, as he is when deceased. Its communications are conveyed
chiefly through dream visitations, yet soul promptings may creep into one's
consciousness through deliberate meditation or through sudden ideas which
suggest themselves at any time. Revelations in dreams or day-thoughts often
arrive in the guise of puzzles which have to be interpreted. They may indeed
arrive as we imagine inspiration in art or music to occur. If the individual
is in rapport with his soul, through his attention to its needs, he will
possess the power to discern the meaning conveyed in the dream or inspiration.
Concretely the revelations generally take the form of instructions as to when,
how, and where to go in search of game. And yet the more lofty concepts of
moral behavior, art, and natural philosophy are not lacking.
Having secured his dream admonitions, the hunter has to rely upon the aid
of his "great man" in subduing the corresponding souls of the game animals.
He proceeds toward further communion with his own soul-spirit by smoking tobacco

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in his stone pipe or by drinking bear's grease. Both of these acts are
intended to feed the soul, which is thought to be found of such influences,
to induce it to work for him. By singing songs that come to him in dreams
and by drumming, the soul-spirit is also stimulated. Then the hunter,
employing the mechanical agencies (weapons, traps, hunting, and traveling
equipment in general) conquers the body of the beast. But the mechanical
devices would, he believes, be futile without first having effected the
spiritual conquest. Mind, he accordingly believes, dominates matter.
Finally, having brought down his game, he is under an obligation to
compensate the soul of the slain animal by certain prescribed treatments
of its bodily remains. The bones have to be disposed of in accordance not
only with such arbitrary suggestions as may come to him privately through
his dreams, but according to some traditional forms of treatment. In some
cases, the body of the animal is conveyed to camp by means of a leather
pack strap for head or breast support, a carrying string or drag line,
ornamented with pigment or riggons symbolizing the color of the animal taken,
white for caribou, red for beaver, and so on. This ceremonial game-string
is carried inside the shirt by the more traditional of the northern and
eastern bands. The carcass is thus ritually handled before it is used.
The broad pack strap employed among southern bands is often embroidered
with figures of the animal hunted. The commonest rites noted among all the
bands, however, are those in relation to the bear. It is addressed as
grandfather, its skull hung on a tree after the feast in which all its flesh
is eaten, tobacco put in its mouth, paint markings in red made on its cranium
and other symbols of regard placed with the skull. Clusters of such skulls
are occasionally seen on trimmed trees which mark the location of bear skull

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yards. These observances induce the bear's spirit to return to life
another season. Women are not permitted to look at the bear's carcass
when its remains are brought into the tent. Its right paw and forearm
should not be cut apart, and other observances are followed which constitute
what are known throughout the region as bear-rites (Hallowell, 1926). The
skulls of beavers and hares are also hung in trees, the jawbones of fish
are tied in bundles and suspended, duck and goose scalps are preserved,
and a number of similar acts performed to satisfy the feelings of the game
killed. It is especially seen to that dogs be prevented from eating the
bones of freshly killed animals, because, they say, the g dog helps man
to pursue and kill his animal brethren and then does not pay equal respect
to their helpless carcasses. Rites of this nature are numerous, and appear
to vary somewhat according to individuals and tribal bands throughout the
region. Moreoever the hunter's own soul derives satisfaction from the pro–
pitiatory acts and then continues to reside in harmony with him and to act
as his mediator with the spirits of animals. The human soul-spirit, it may
be added, resides in the heart.
Similar control can be exerted over other human beings. Those whose
soul-spirits [: ] are weaker cna con be controlled by the wish of others. Thus
we hear of "causative thought." The control, it is believed, can be extended
over space without contact. To operate along this line one may "wish."
This is done by concentrating thought upon the thing or act desired. Its
accomplishment depends upon the power of the operator's "great man" and
upon the lack of spirit resistance encountered in the victim.
Since lack of even a loose organization and formalism is an outstanding
characteristic of the Montagnais-Naskapi social framework, we seek in vain

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for signs of religious teachings and cults as they exist in cultural
centers to the south and southwest (Ojibwa and Central Algonkian mid e é wiwin ,
Iroquois curing societies, Plains sacred bundle rituals). There being no
priesthood or mass propagated doctrines of sacred mysteries, the laymen
hunter officiates in his own behalf as intermediator between his world and
the realm of the supernatural. Revelations and experiences, plus the narra–
tives of elders, become primary sources through which the individual gains
his understanding of the universe. These enable him to accommodate himself
to the forces of visible and invisible nature. The spiritual entity which
dwells within the individual is in the heart during life and departs over
the Milky Way ("ghost's path") to a sky abode at death.
Transformation, not outright creation, accounts for the existence of
the world as it is. Transformer-heroes in both human and animal guise
effected changes in the universe from preexisting states through possession
of power [: ] of will, wish, and fancy, coming under the widespread Algonkian
designation of manitu . The leading figure in the transformation cycle, how–
ever, is Tsekabesh, and his counterpart in northern Algonkian is Wiskedjak,
dialectically variable over the expande of the peninsula. His character,
motivations, and world-transforming performances coincide with those of like
nature all over the eastern circumboreal zone where Algonkian is spoken.
He snared the sun and moon, transformed sundry animals, destroyed evil
monsters. When his labors were finished he disappeared, but promised to
return to earth at the end of time and command all the creatures, especially
good men, and remove the sources of evil. When he departed the earth he took
his abode with his family on the top of a mountain where a great tree was
standing. The myths of Tsekabesh form a cycle which is common all over the
Northeast.

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The four directional winds are personified as "man of the north,"
and so on. They have control of the four seasons in rotation as sub-deities
under the Supreme Being, are sensitive to remarks about them made by human
beings, and respond to small offerings of tobacco and food as well as to
veneration. Mythical narratives relate to them.
Images and likenesses in the form of masks and pictures are not made by
the Montagnais-Naskapi to represent supernatural beings as they are among
Algonkian and other groups to the southward (Delaware, Iroquois).
The legend of the boy adopted by a she bear and rescued when the foster–
mother is killed is found among all the bands, as is also the myth of stealing
of "summer fluid" from the south resulting in breaking up the reign of
perennial winter (glacial time ?).
European folk tales have not become integrated into Montagnais-Naskapi
folk literature as closely as they have in other Algonkian areas.
The Supreme Being concept is probably original since it represents the
"owner" of mankind, the supreme creature among earthly forms of life in the
same manner that the animal groups (caribou, bear, beaver, moose, fish, etc.)
are ruled and sustained in life by their Owners. The soul elements of all
creatures depar t the body and later are believed to appear in new-born young
of their kind. The universe of life is thus conceptualized as a continuity
of life and death.
Besides the invisible forces abroad in the world, above it, below, and
in the firmament, there [: ] are those which inhabit the forests and tundra
and occasionally reported as seen by hunters. There are capricious dwarfs
("little people"), nonmalevolent by nature; a terrifying cannibal gian in human
form ( stcen ); another cannibal "He who has a hairy heart," as well as "great
man" (Mishtabeo); narrow-faced race of manlike dwellers in precipices ( memegwejo );

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

and the genius of springs, "under-waterman," resembling the merman.
But chief among the uncanny denizens of the bush is the man-eating rogue
known as w i í tigo ( windigo of northern literature in general) whose origin is
traced to the conjuror or shaman who has eaten human flesh and become a
semi-spirit of cannibalistic habits who can be overcome only by one having
superior power of manitu.
Ritual performances among the Montagnais-Naskapi are relatively few when
compared with other less marginal Algonkian-speaking groups. The mode of life
with its uncertainty of sustenance does not provide occasion for regular
gatherings of people for formal ceremonies; and, perhaps historically more
significant, the extension of developments in ceremony so marked among popula–
tions of the central regions is not found here. Feast gatherings, however,
are celebrated when an abundance of meat has been secured by hunters blessed
with good fortune through their righteous observance of rules in respect to
the lives of animals. Besides the bear ceremony, already mentioned as a major
rite among Algonkian peoples, and other circumboreal, the occasions for game
feasts arise when caribou and other game provide flesh enough to regale the
assembled companies. At such times the feast-maker gives away all the meat
and speeches are made by the guests extolling his generosity and virtues as
a hunter.
This is the occasion also for singing and dancing. The only movement is
circular in counterclockwise direction, men and women participating. Dancing,
so far as known, is performed in rejoicing for the provender and to afford
satisfaction to the slain creatures and their Owners, with no specific bymbolism
displayed. The singers are always men, who accompany themselves with a disk–
shaped hide-covered hand rattle if one is available, a type used also in the

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

Plains area. The songs are compositions of the hunters, never song formulas
or fixed versions. The song texts, as translated from phonograph records,
are recitations of hunting excursions, expressing sentiments toward the bush
and rejoicing for hunting success, some of them tinged with humor and ad–
dressed to the particular animal for whom the lyric has been composed. A
large drum, known as the shaman's drum, is also beaten for the dances by
a singer having some degree of shamanistic power. Its form is that of a
tambourine, several feet across among the northern bands, covered with one
hide or caribou membrane in the north, double-headed among southern bands.
A snare, or buzzer, is placed inside the head having small sections of bird
quills or caribou foetus digits as "buzzers." The beater is of caribou antler
or leg-bone, and has significance as a symbol of shamanism.
In the Montagnais-Naskapi view, Christianity offers little [: ] oward solving
problems of adjusting the hunting life of the natives of the bush to the whims
of animals and to their spiritual sponsors. Native traditional beliefs and
propitiatory rites take better care of those mystical arrangements among the
people of the forest and tundra. Christianity, as they have observed, may
take care of those living in the precincts of white settlements, where the
God of the white man has given superiority to his favored race in material
things and dominance of power. The essential moral teachings of the Gospels
are not strange to the natives, but theology with its doctrines of atonement,
promise of solace in life and reward afterward through faith, and gruesom
eternal punishment to those who reject it, is something which neither
Catholicism nor Protestantism can make clear. Two minds, two ways of thought,
are the partly harmonized results among those interior bands whose contact
with mission centers is limited to a few weeks in the summer trading period.

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

One is good in the bush, the other is said to be good where the white man's
irresistible and paradoxical doma i n of mysteries prevails in act and doctrine.
Christianity takes care of the evils brought into the country with "civiliza–
tion", and is accepted with it through fear and the desire to avoid conflict
with the more powerful white men and their ways. The bands of Montagnais
associated for several centuries with French proselyting forces and trading
posts have become communicants of the Roman Catholic church almost without
exception; those of the northern interior have accepted the Anglican creed
for which English contact is responsible, but the progress in conversion has
not been so far-reaching.
The Conjuror and Divination Practices . In the social register of the
Montagnais-Naskapi the most importan [: ] calling is that of the conjuror ( met e é wilnu,
met e é wino
), whose functions include clairvoyance, foretelling of events, de–
tection of coming misfortune, control of the elements, detection of violation
of rulings of society such as trespass on hunting ground, witchcraft, and
in fact most of the magico-religious feats known in the lore of a hunting
population. The conjuror is moreover a performer of "miracles" or tricks
of many kinds that form the body of personal narratives repeated by those
who have witnessed them or know them by hearsay. The conjuror acquires
his power through his soul-spirit. This gives him power to transfer his
spiritual entity into animal form, to render himself invisible, and to call
to his command the spirits of animals in obedience to his will, and to speak
in alien tongues, and to use ventriloquism. Conjurors are usually men. They
obtain their powers through dreaming, visitations of animal spirits, and
cultivation of their "great man" or soul-spirit by complying with its require–
ments, whatever these may be. Conjuring power is never acquired by purchase.

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

and is not necessarily inherited from father to son. Its possessor lives
in the community as an otherwise ordinary hunter, acting and dressing as
others, except that he holds a prestige above less gifted members of his
band. His method of operation is to enclose himself in a "conjuror's tent"
made of selected kinds of saplings found in the band territory, to sing after
practicing certain forms of self-denial, calling upon animal spirits to
come to the tent, then causing the tent to shake violently due to the force
of their presence within. What the conjuror's limitations of action in this
state actually are is difficult to say. He receives only presents for his
ministrations although his vocation amounts to a profession. Conjuring power
is ambivalent; it can be used for good or evil purposes according to the
will of the practitioner. The moral nature of the shaman's use of power is
not predetermined but is a manner of free-will decision on his part.
To the same extent that the conjuror or shaman appears in a similar role
all over the circumboreal regions of America and Asia, the practices of
divination also exhibit only slight variation. Divination rites may be
resorted to by individuals of both sexes. Chief among them is foretelling
luck in locating and taking animals by scorching over coals of a fire the
shoulder blade of a game animal (scapulimancy) in order to extort from its
former owner the answers to questions as to whereabouts of its kind. Burnt
and fire-scorched areas on the shoulder plate as well as cracks are then
interpreted as signs readable to one accustomed to deciphering such appearances.
Bones of other animals may serve in a similar capacity. The devices of bone
divination are numerous and definitely ancient in the northern hemisphere.
Divination by looking into a bowl of water (scrying) is reported for the
northwestern area of the peninsula (Cooper 1928).

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

Games have likewise something of a divinatory character among the
Labrador Indians. The successful outcome of a game of skill, of which
there are at least a dozen forms, denotes success in the next hunting
excursion. Children engage in such games to strengthen their luck in the
course of adult life. The same is true for string figures, forty-two of
which recorded from members of interior bands show considerable resemblance
in form to those of Eskimos, and have game-snaring intentions (Hallowell,
1935). The ring and pin game is universal in the peninsula, taking the form
of five to seven caribou phalanges hollowed out and strung to be caught on
a bone skewer.
Curative practices also fall under the activities of the shaman. His
offices represent the magical theory of cause of disease and cure, rather
than the results of practical experimentation in the diagnosis and treatment.
Illness and death arise from neglect of the soul-spirit and from the presence
of hostile elements in the body. Conjuring and the protection afforded by
magic charms seem to serve better than pharmacology as remedies. The charms
take the form of beaded and/or painted leather pendants worn on the neck (white
man's neckties are incidentally thought to be protective charms), on leggings,
on wrists, on dresses worn by women, on hair and hats of men, and on hunting
gear. They are believed to protect and bring good luck. Dreams often reveal
what to use as charms. Herbal cures are relatively few as compared with those
of groups south of the St. Lawrence and westward, a condition explained by
the people as being due to a less abundant plant growth. Bleeding is known
as a surgical remedy for pains, instrument being a sharp splinter of stone
or glass inserted in a stick and struck with a piece of wood.
The sweating lodge ritual is an important feature in the hunter's life
among northern and extreme eastern bands of the Montagnais-Naskapi. It serves

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

to strengthen the individual's soul-spirit by purification and also by
weakening resistance of animals to his tactics of hunting. The procedure
is like that of other Indian groups. The sweat lodge is a low dome-shaped,
oven-like tent inside which heated stones are placed with tongs. Men singly
or in groups enter naked and water is thrown on the stones to make steam.
Meanwhile they sing the songs they know addressed to the animals. [: ]
The bear is mentioned in particular. When steamed and sweated the inmates
leave the lodge and cool off gradually. The use of specially designated
trees for the lodge poles, the prescribed number of heated stones, the
employment of rattles or drum by singers, and the terms involved, mark the
sweating rite as a phase of individual shamanism.

EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Bailey, A.G. Conflict of European and Eastern Algonkian Cultures .
The New Brunswick Museum, St. John, New Brunswick, 1937.

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3. Burgesse, J.A. The Woman and the Child Among the Lac-St.-Jean Montagnais ,
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Edited by C.W. Townsend, Boston, 1911.

5. Census of Indians and Eskimos in Canada, Department of Indian Affairs,
Ottawa, 1924.

6. Clements, F.E. and Shelford, V.E. Bio-ecology , N. Y. 1939.

7. Cooper, J.M. Northern Algonkian Scrying and Scapulimancy, in P.W. Schmidt
Festschrift, edited by W. Kopper, Wien, 1928.

8. ----. Snares, Deadfalls and Other Traps of the Northern Algonquians and
Northern Athapaskans, Catholic University of America, Vol.5,
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9. ----. Is the Algonquian Family Hunting Ground System Pre-Columbian?
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10. Flannery, R. An analysis of Coastal Algonquian Culture, The Catholic
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11. Hallowell, A.I. Bear Ceremonialism in the Northern Hemisphere, American
Anthropologist, Vol. 28, 1926.

12. ----. The Physical Characteristics of the Indians of Labrador, Journal
de la Societe des Americanistes de Paris, N.S. XXI, Paris, 1929

13. ----. Kinship Terms and Cross Cousin Marriage of the Montagnais-Naskapi
and Cree, American Anthropologist, N.S. Volume 34. 1932.

14. Hallowell, D.K. (see Naskapi , F.G. Speck) 1935.

15. Hind, H.Y. Esplorations in the Interior of the Labrador Peninsula, London, [: ]
1863.

16. Jenness, D.

17. Johnson, F. Edited by Frederick Johnson - Man in Northeastern North America,
Papers of the Robert S. Peabody Foundation for Archaeology,
Volume 3, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, 1946.

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18. Lips, J.E. Trap Systems Among the Montagnais-Naskapi Indians of
Labrador. Statens Etnografiska Museum, Riksmuseets Etnografiska
Avdelning, Stockholm, Sweden, XIII. 1936.

19. Murdock, G.P. Ethnographic Bibliography of North America, Yale
Anthropological Series, No.1, Yale University Press.

20. Report of Committee on Hudson's Bay Company, Appendix II, 1857.
(quoted in Hind, 1863)

21. Ritchie, W.A. Archaeological Manifestations and Relative Chronology in
the Northeast, (in Man in Northeastern North America) 1946.

22. Spaulding, A.C. Northeastern Archaeology and General Trends in the
Northern Forest Zone (see Main in Northeastern North America) 1946.

23. Speck, F.G. "The Montagnais Indians," The Southern Workman , XXXVII, 3,
pp. 148-54 (I11.) 1909

24. ----. "The Basis of Indian Ownership of Land and Game," ibid. , pp. 35-38, 1914.

25. ----. "The Double-curve Motive in Northeastern Algonkian Art," Canada Dept.
Of Mines: Geol. Survey Memoir
42 (No.1, Anth. Series), pp.1-17,
figs. 25, pl [: ].18, 1914.

26. ----. "Basis of American Ownership of the Land," University of
Pennsylvania University Lectures , 1914-1915, pp. 181-196. 1915.

27. ----. "Some Naskapi Myths from Little Whale River," published consecu–
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28. ----. "The Family Hunting Band as the Basis of Algonkian Social Organi–
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29. ----. "An Ancient Archaeological Site on the Lower St. Lawrence,"
Holmes Ann .,Volume pp. 427-432. 1916.

30. ----. "Medicine Practices of the Northeastern Algonquians," 19th Inter–
national Congress of Americanists,
pp. 303-321. 1917.

31. ----. "The Social Structure of the Northern Algonkian," Pub. Am. Soc.Soc. ,
Vol. XII, pp. 82-100, 1917.

32. ----. "Kinship Terms and the Family Band among the Northeastern Algonkian,"
American Anthropologist, 20: 2, pp. 143-161, 1918.

33. ----. "Hunting Charms of the Montagnais and the Mistassini" by F.G. Speck
and G.G. Heye, Museum of the American Indian , Heye Foundation, Indian
Notes and Mongraph
, pp. 1-19, 1921.

34. ----. "Beothuk and Micmac," ibid. , Part 1, pp. 1-187. 1922.

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35. ----. "Mistassini Hunting Territories in the Labrador Peninsula,"
American Anthropologist, 25:4, pp. 452-471, 1923.

36. ----. "Collections from Labrador Eskimo," Museum of the American Indian,
Heye Foundation, Indian Notes , pp. 211-217, 1924.

37. ----. "Eskimo Collection from Baffin Land and Ellsmere Land," ibid ,
pp.143-149, 1924.

38. ----. "Spiritual Beliefs among Labrador Indians," XXIe Congres Int .
des Amer. Session de La Haye, 12-16 aout pp.266-275, 1924.

39. ----. "Central Eskimo and Indian Bot Ornamentation," Museum of the
American Indian
, Heye Foundation , Indian Notes , II:3, pp.151-172, 1925.

[: ]40. ----. "Dogs of the Labrador Indians," Natural History , XXVI:I, pp.58-64,
1925.

41. ----. "Montagnais and Naskapi Tales from the Labrador Peninsula," Journal
of American Folklore
, 38:147, pp.1-32, 1925.

42. ----. "Land Ownership among Hunting Peoples in Primitive America and the
World's Marginal Areas," International Congress of Americanists:
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43. ---- "Culture Problems in Northeastern North America," Amer. Phil.Soc.Proc .,
LXV:4, pp. 272-311, 1926.

44. ----. "Modern and Classical Soul Philosophy among Stone Age Savages of
Labrador," General Magazine, University of Penn., XXVIII:2,
pp.112-117, 1926.

45. ----. "An Âncident in Montagnais Winter Life," Natural History , XXVI:I,
pp.61-67, 1926.

46. ----. "Eskimo Carved Ivories from Northern Labrador," Museum of the
American Indian,
Heye Founda g t ion, Indian Notes , IV:4, pp.309-314, 1926

47. ----. "Family Hunting Territories of the Lake St. John Montagnais and
Neighboring Bands," Anthropos Tome XXII, pp.387-403, 1927.

48. ----. "Mistassini Notes," Museum of the American Indian , Heye Foundation,
Indian Notes
, VII:4, pp.410-457, 1930.

49. ----. "Montagnais-Naskapi Bands and Early Eskimo Distribution in the
Labrador Peninsula," American Anthropologist , 33:4, pp.557-600, 1931.

50. ----. "The Montagnais of the Labrador," Home Geographic Monthly , II:I,
pp. 7-12, [: ] 1932.

51. ----. "Ethical Attributes of the Labrador Indians," American Anthropologist ,
35:4, pp.559-591, 1933.

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52. ----. "Mammoth or Stiff-Legged Bear," American Anthropologist, 37:I,
pp. 159-63, 1935.

53. ----. "Naskapi," University of Oklahoma Press, pp. 1-248, 1935.

54. ----. "Labrador Eskimo Mask and Clown," General Magazine, XXXVII:2,
pp.159-174, 1935.

55. ----. "Eskimo and Indian Backgrounds in Southern Labrador," Part 1,
General Maga l z ine, University of Pennsylvania, XXXVIII:I, pp.1-17, 1935.

56. ----. "Eskimo and Indian Backgrounds in Southern Labrador," Part II,
ibid ., XXXVIII:2, pp. 143-163, 1935.

57. ----. "Inland Eskimo Bands of Labrador," Essays in Anthropology in
Honor of Alfred Louis Kroeber, University of California Press,
pp. 313-330, 1936.

58. ----. "Analysis of Eskimo and Indian Skin-Dressing Methods in Labrador,"
Ethnos , Stockholm, 2:6, pp.345-353, 1937.

59. ----. "Swimming Paddles among Northern Indians," American Anthropologist ,
39:4, pp.726-7, 1937.

60. ----. "Montagnais Art in Birch-Bark: A Circumpolar Trait," Museum of
the American Indian
, Heye Foundation , Indian Notes and Monograph ,
Vol.XI, No.2, pp I-X, 45-157, figs.,1-4, pls. I-XXIV, 1938.

61. ----. "Significance of Algonkian Hunting Territory Systems in Sociological
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Vol.41, No.2, pp.269-80, 1939. title erroneous. (A. C. 1962)

62. ----. "Eskimo Ivory Jacket Ornaments Suggesting Function of Bone Pendants
Found in Beothuk Sites in Newfoundland," American Antiquity , Vol.V,
No.3, pp.225-8, figs. 10-12, 1940.

63. ----. "Montagnais-Naskapi Bands and Family Hunting Districts of the
Central and Southeastern Labrador Peninsula." Collaboration with
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Phila. Penna., Vol.85, No.2, pp.215-242, figs.,2, map. 1942.

64. Strong, W.D. Notes on Mammals of the Labrador Interior, Journal of
Mammalogy, Volume II, No.1, 1930a.

65. ----. A Stone Culture from Northern Labrador and Its Relation to the
Eskimo-like Cultures of the Northeast, American Anthropologist,
Volume 32, 1930b.

66. Tanner, V. Outline of the Geography, Life and Customs of Newfoundland–
Labrador (The Easten Part of the Labrador Peninsula), Acta
Geographica, Vol.8, No.1, Helsinki, 1944.

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67. Turner, L. M. Ethnology of the Ungava District, 11th Annual Report,
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Frank G. Speck

Peoples of Northern Eurasia

The Lapps

Johannes
Johs. Falkenberg
(Translated by Karin Fennow)

The Lapps

The Lapps occupy an almost continuous area from the Røros (Norway) region and
Dalarne (Sweden) in the southwest to Magerøya (Norway) in the north and the Terian
Coast (USSR) in the east. The interior part s of this area contain massive ridges montain is a plateau,
of high mountains , with individual peaks rising more than 2,000 meters above sea
level. The terrain declines precipitously from the mountains to the many-fjorded
Norwegian coast on the west, while the gradient eastward and southward toward the
Gulf of Bothnia is much gentler and longer. Consequently, in the northern parts
of Sweden and Finland big rivers with a large water volume volume of water flow from the watershed
down into the Gulf of Bothnia. Gently sloping terrain also prevails in a northerly
direction as far as the coast, terminating in several places in cliffs that plunge
abruptly toward the Arctic Sea.
The major part of the Lapp territory has a subarctic climate, in that the
July isotherm for 50° Fahrenheit extends across Magerøya to Vadsø (Norway) and
onward in an east-southeasterly direction. Only the northeastern part of Finnmark
Province (Norway) and the northern and eastern parts of the Kola Peninsula (USSR)
have a true arctic climate , theoretically speaking . The climate of the western
coastal areas is oceanic in character, with relatively mild and very rainy winters
and comparatively cool summers. The mean temperature at Bodø (Norway) for February
is plus 26.9° 27° Fahrenheit, while the mean temperature for July is plus 54.3° F.
The corresponding mean temperatures at Tromsø (Norway) are plus 24.8° F. in February
and plus 50.9° 51.3° In July. Bodø has a mean annual precipitation of 1008 mm., and
1 <formula>21 12 / 52</formula> Tromsø 940 mm. The inland climate can be defined as continental, with cold winters
and comparatively warm summers. The mean temperature for February at Karesuando
(Sweden) is plus 5.9° 5.7° F., and for July plus 54.5° F., while Jokkmokk (Sweden) has
an average temperature of plus 5.9° F. in February and plus 58.1° F. in July. The
annual precipitation averages 308 mm. in Karesuando and 436 mm. in Jokkmokk.
A large part of the Lapp territory is located north of the Arctic Circle,
which extends across Svartisen (Norway) , [: A] Rovaniemi (Finland) , and the southern part
of the Kola Peninsula, so that the midnight sun and the sunless period alternately mark the
seasons. At the level latitude of Bodø the sun is absent for fourteen days out of the year.
Farther north, on a level line with Tromsø, the sun disappears for a little more than
two months, and farthest north, at the latitude of North Cape, it is gone for
two and one half months. The annually recurrent sunless period is compensated
for to some degree by uninterrupted sunlight of twenty-four hours duration (day and night) in
the midsummer season ; this contrast between light and darkness is one of the
strongest influences characterizing nature in the northern Lapp districts.
(See also "Daylight and Darkness in High Latitudes.")
delete
To an extent , the flora varies rather considerably in the areas O o ccupied
by the Lapps, In the alpine mountain regions of the interior the ground is covered by
lichens and moss. The flatter terrain is dominated by birch and by a vigorous
grass vegetation, while dense, contiguous , evergreen forests (spruce and pine) are
spread across the eastern Swedish, the Finnish , and the Russian Lapp M m arches.
2 <formula>28 3 / 84 28/36</formula> In former times bears and lynx were fairly abundant in those areas fre–
quented by the Lapps, but these animals are now virtually extinct. Among beasts
of prey, some wolves, foxes , and wolverines are still to be found. Wild reindeer,
formerly numerous all over the Lapp marches, are now extinct, but have been re–
placed by domesticated reindeer, which are kept by the thousands. Beavers and
otters were once abundant. The beaver has now disappeared, but there are still
some otters in the various coastal areas. The ptarmigan constitutes the most
important game at present, and eider ducks are to be found in several places on
the coasts.
Fish, particularly cod and coalfish, but also flounders, halibut, haddock,
etc., are plentiful in the fjords and off the coasts in the west and the north,
and there are also some salmon in the ocean and in many of the big rivers. In
the interior regions there are numerous good fishing waters and fishing rivers,
where trout is the main fish.
The area of Lappic distribution extends across four countries. Farthest
east the Lapps belong politically to the USSR; in this region they cover the whole northern part and the interior of the Kola Peninsula.
In Finland there are Lapps in Utsjoki, Enare, Enontekis, and as far south
as S u o dankylä. Before the first World War a number of so-called "Skolt" Lapps
lived in the Petsamo district, which has now been ceded to the USSR, but they
were evacuated as early as 1944 and now live in the regions south of Enare.
The Swedish Lapps occupy the northwestern parts of Sweden from the Finnish
boundary in the northeast to Idre in Da r larne in the south. Farthest north the
Lapps live in the Lapp marches of Norbotten and Vesterbotten. In addition, some
Lapps live in the upper Tornedal Parish south of the Lapp territories in R a å ne a å
and Edfors. Furthermore, there are Lapps in the western parts of Jämtland and
Härjedalen and in northwestern Dalarne (Idre). The coastal regions west of the
Gulf of Bothnia are actually outside of the Lappic settlement area, but in winter
individual Lapp families occasionally migrate with their reindeer herds all the
way down to the coast.
In Norway a continuous belt of Lapp occupation runs from Engerdal in
Hedmark Province, farthest south, to as far north and east as the land extends.
Thus, north of Hedmark Lapps live in Sør-Trøndelag Province, Nord-Trøndelag
Province, and in the provinces of Nordland, Troms , and Finnmark. In addition, there are
a few Lapps in the southern Norwegian mountain districts from Dovre to Setesdal,
where they are herdsmen for the private Norwegian domesticated reindeer companies.
The Lapps constitute a minority population group P p ractically speaking, wherever the Lapps live everywhere the in Norway, Sweden, Finland
and the USSR . they constitute a minority population group. The only places where
they are in the majority are the Finnish parishes of Utsjoki and the Finnmark
parishes of Kautokeino, Karasjok, Polmak ,Tana and Nesseby, and a few parishes in
North Troms in Norway. The Russian Lapps live in close contact with Russians,
Syrenians Zyrians , Samoyeds , and other peoples who have settled on the Kola Peninsula.
The Finnish Lapps associate with their Finnish neighbors who have settled in
the Lapp marches. Furthermore, a not inconsiderable number of Swedes live in the Swedish Lapp territories, especially in the eastern and southeastern parts.
Finally, the Norwegian Lapps live in close contact with the fixed Norwegian
farming population along the coastal regions of northern Norway.
Since there has been a comprehensive racial intermingling has taken place throughout
Finno-Scandinavia Fennoscandia , it is often difficult to decide whether an individual should
be classified as a Lapp or a Finn, a Norwegian, Swede, etc. The following fig–
ures, which are based on the latest census, must therefore be interpreted as
approximate:
Country Lapp Po l p ulation
USSR 1,800
Finland 2,300
Sweden 8,500
Norway 19,100
31,700
The Lappic language belongs to the Finno-Ugrian family, which in addition
comprises Finnish, Carelian, Esthonian , and other Finnish languages, as well as
Mordvinian, Cheremissian, Votyak, Syryenian, Zyrian, Vogul, Ostyak , and Magyar. The
Finno-Ugric languages have diverged so much from one another during with the passage
of time that Lappish and Magyar, for instance, resemble each other no more than,
for example, do English and Persian. Since the Lapps are not related racially
to any of the other Finno-Ugric peoples, it is possible that they once spoke
another, non-Finno-Ugric language, possibly proto-Samoyed or a language related
to that language. A well-known the r ory assumes that as early as before the birth
of Christ the Lapps exchanged their former, now unknown, language, or "proto–
Lappish," as it has been called, for a Finno-Ugric language which they learned
from their neighbors. Accordingly, this language subsequently developed into
current Lappish.
However, it should be strongly emphasized that this theory has
not been verified and that many linguists view it sceptically.
[: ]
Lappish is divided into several languages and dialects. A Lapp from the
Kola Peninsula will not understand Norwegian-Lappish, and a Lapp from Finnmark
will not understand a Lapp from the southern Lapp regions, for example from
Vefsen, Trøndelag (Norway), Härjedalen (Sweden) Lappish is generally divided into the fol–
lowing dialect groups:
2. Kola-Lappish, or Russian-Lappish, which is spoken by the Lapps on
the Kola Peninsula and by the Skolt Lapps who live south of Enare (Norwary) (Finland) . A few Skolt
Lapps in Sø-Varanger (Norway) also speak this dialect.
4. Enare-Lappish, which is spoken by a number of more or less permanently
settled fisher Lapps in the Enare district.
6. Norwegian-Lappish, which is spoken by the great majority of Lapps;
that is, by all the Norwegian Lapps north of Tyssefjord, as well as by the
Swedish Lapps in Jukkasjärvi and Karesuando, and by the Finnish nomadic Lapps.
8. Lule-Lappish, in Gällivare and Jokkmokk (both Sweden) , and in the adjacent parts
of Norway.
10. Pite-Lappish, in the northern part of Arvidsjaur and most of Arje–
plog (both Sweden) , as well as in the bordering part of Norway.
12. Ume-Lappish, between the Pite-Lappish area and the Ume River (Sweden) , as
well as in the adjoining part of Norway.
14. South-Lappish, south of the Ume River and in the bordering sections
of Norway.
While the Lapps are connected with the Finno-Ugrian peoples linguisti–
cally, they are completely isolated racially; it has actually been impossible
to form any certain racial link between the Lapps and any other folk group.
It is true that in several isolated places in Europe, such as in Poland, people
who seem to be close to the Lapps have been observed, but the racial link between
these people and the Lapps is extremely problematical.
Recent studies indicate — but more as a hypothesis rather than as scientific fact — [] that it may be necessary to take into account
two separate Lappic racial [: ] variants. In the farthest north there
is a lew [] low - headed Lappic population of more or less "Mongolian" origin, but
with some "Norse-Alpine" characteristics. In the south there is a more long- high-
skilled headed type, which may possibly have developed as the result of a crossing of a "Norse-Alpine" and an East-European,non-Mongolian type. The borderline be–
tween these two types is entirely fluid. However, since the majority of the
northernmost Lapps are fisher sea Lapps, and the southern Lapps are descendants
of reindeer herding nomads, it is possible that the two racial groups once
re i p resented two different cultures — one a fishing culture, and the other an inland
culture based on reindeer keeping,hunting, and lake fishing.
There are no European people with a lower mean height than the Lapps.
However, their body height seems to have incr d e ased by several centimeters
during the course of the last two three generations. At present the average
male height in the different districts varies on the whole form 155 cm. to
163 cm., and the female height from 144 cm. to 155 cm.
The legs are short in comparison with the torso and the arms; feet and
hands are small. The shape of the head is distinctly brachycephalic, with a
mean length-breadth index of between 83 and 84. The cheek bones are prominent,
and the chin pointed. The nasal profile is concave. "Slant" eyes occur, but
are not customary; i.e., the so-called"Mongolian fold" has been observed in
various some few individuals, but is not very pronounced. Eye color is mostly brown,
but blue eyes also occur.
Skin pigmentation is fair, with a brownish tone. The hair is mostly
coarse and straight, but way and curly hair can also occur. Hair color varies
from nearly black to dark brown, light brown and ash blond. Beard growth in
males is scanty, for the most part.
The earliest known unquestionably Lappic skeleton find comes from
Nesseby in East Finnmark. On the basis of the archeological inventory it has
been attributed to the period 200 B.C. - 200 A.D. Linguistic scientists also
argue that Lapps may have lived in the northern parts of Scandinavia prior to
the beginning of our calendar.
Various scholars have tried to interpret some of the north Scandinavian
Stone Age cultures as Lappic. Even the Komsa k culture Komsa k culture has been linked to the Lapps. However, it has not been possible to date to produce actual proof of
Lapp habitation in Finno-Scandinavia Finno-Scandinavia Fennoscandia at a time chronologically parallel with
the Stone Age in southern Scandinavia. On the other hand, there can scarcely
be any doubt that in any case. the Lapps lived in Finland during the Bronze Age ,
It is also possible that in this area [: ] they shifted over at a very early
period to speaking a Finno-Ugric language as a result of their contacts with
a Finno-Ugric neighboring people racially entirely different from themselves.
A circumstance which makes the study of the earliest history of the
Lapps in Finno- Scandinavia Fennoscandia so difficult is that, among other things, the arche–
ology of northern Scandinavia has never been clearly co-ordinated, either
typologically or chronologically. Between the various groups of discoveries
there are sizeable time lags, periods which are completely unknown from an
archeological point of view. Consequently, it is difficult to link the various
cultures that have been uncovered, and it is even more difficult to associate
the diverse cultures with definite folk groups.
It cannot be proved exactly, but it is nevertheless essentially probable ,
that the so-called Kjelmøy culture, the earliest phases of which can be ascribed
to the Viking period, ( [: ]) - the pre-Viking period is Lappic. The Kjelmøy culture was discovered in Sør–
Varanger (Norway) , and is a distinct coastal culture. It seems to have earlier prede–
cessors to the east, on the Kola Peninsula, and there is thus a possibility
that one of the Lappic routes of entry into Scandinavia may have been along
the coast of the Arctic Ocean Sea . However, it is more reasonable to assume that
the Lapps came in from the southeast.
The question of when the Lapps came to Finno-Scandinavia Fennoscandia and whence they
came is still open. The only certainty is that the Lapps must have spread out
over large parts of Finno-Scandinavia Fennoscandia in early days. Accordingly, in the year around
1,000 A.D. the Lapps occupied the whole following area: The present Nordland,
Troms , and Finnmark provinces in Norway, with the exception of the outer coastal
regions south of Malange r n , where there were Norwegian settlements ; I i n addition, the whole of present-day Swedish Lappland north of the Strøms Valley Lake. river valley,
Furthermore, the entire Kola Peninsula , and a considerable part of present-day
Finnish C K arelia. Finnishized Lappish place names have been found by the hundreds
Voksen valley all over Finland, and as far south as Nyland, on the C K arelian Isthmus and in
Vuoksendalen. the Vūaksen-valley. Around the year 1,000 At about 1100 A.D. Lapps were the sole inhabitants of
the area north of a line which can be drawn from the Kumo River in the West
and eastwards across Sysmä St. Michel , and Puumala. And as late as the 14th
C c entury Lapps lived beside Lake Onega, perhaps not very far from Samoyeds, who
have been placed in the forest region east of Onega as late as in the 17th
C c entury.
The Lapp regions have never formed a political entity, have never con–
stituted a Lappic nation. Large united social groups have never developed in
the Lapp marches. As a result, it has always been difficult for the Lapps to
defend their rights in the face of opposition by ag g ress s ive neighbors. In
the course of time they have been forced out of large parts of the areas which
they formerly occupied, and as far back as history goes they have been exposed
to attack and [: ] oppression by neighboring peoples.
In very early days the Norwegians, Finns, C K arelians , and others regularly
sallied forth to plunder the Lapps, but eventually the looting took on a "legal–
ized" character. Accordingly, as early as the 9th C c entury A.D. there were
definite regulations determining the amount of "taxes" the Lapps were compelled
to pay to the strong men chiftains in North Norway. Thus, the Norwegian Ottar, who lived
in the 9th C c entury, states concerning the Lapp taxation that: "Each one (Lapp)
must pay in accordance with his position; the most prosperous must pay fifteen
marten skins, five reindeer hides, one bearskin, ten ducks with feathers, one
garment made of bear or otter skin , and two hawsers, each sixty ells long, one
made of walrus hide and the other of sealskin."
At a very early date the taxation of the Lapps led to political and in part to military conflicts between Norway, Sweden, and the kingdom principality in Novgorod
(Russia), all three of which claimed to have sovereignty over the Lapps. In
some places the Lapps were forced at times to pay taxes to all three countries
simultaneously. During the course of the 16th, 17th , and 18th centuries, however,
the political boundaries of the Lapp marches were fixed, so that the Lapps became
subjects of a definite country.
Still, the division of the Lapp marches into different political areas
was not solely of advantage to the Lapps. For instance, in 1852 the border
between Norway and Finland was closed to all passage of domesticated reindeer,
so that a large part of the Norwegian nomadic Lapps were thenceforth cut off
from their old winter grazing resources in Finland. The Swedish Torne Lapps
were similarly cut off following 18 9 8 9 from their Finnish grazing lands. The
boundary between Norway and Sweden has also been the cause of many difficulties;
however, the Treaty of 1919 [: ] ensures a certain number of Swedish
reindeer of the right to summer grazing in certain parts of Troms and Nordland
provinces.
The Lappic culture has by no means developed along uniform lines every–
where. Just as it is legitimate to talk about several Lappic languages, so it
is also possible to speak of several Lappic cultures. From an economic point
of view the Lappic cultures are based on one or more of the following means of
livelihood: hunting, fishing, reindeer keeping herding, and farming cattle keeping .
While hunting and fishing are ancient Lappic means of livelihood, both
farming cattle and reindeer keeping herding are more recent. Reindeer keeping herding and farming husbandry ,
however, have also been carried on by Lapps in several places for a very long
period. Farming Cattle keeping is without doubt the most recent economic occupation of the
Lapps, but documentary evidence shows that the Lapps farmed kept cattle in Nordland as
early as the Viking period, and from old Norse words that were borrowed and
incorporat 4 ed into Lappish it appears that the southern Maritime Sea Lapps probably
carried on a primitive kind of farming cattle keeping husbandry even prior to the Viking period. On the other hand, [: ] farther north, in present-day Finnmark Province, the
Lapps do not seem to have embarked on farming cattle keeping husbandry before the 16th C c entury; in other
places — for example in the eastern Swedish Lapp districts — the Lapps took it up
farming still later. Finally, there are a great number of Lapps in all four
countries who have never shifted over to agriculture animal husbandry .
While there is no doubt that the Lapps have learned how to farm husbandry from
their Scandinavian neighbors, there is disagreement about whether the Lapps'
reindeer keeping herding developed under the influence of the reindeer keeping of the
inhabitants of the eastern arctic regions, or whether it developed independently
in Scandinavia, possibly under the influence of the Norsemen 's animal husbandry .
The only certainty is that reindeer keeping herding has been the backbone of the Lappic
economy for a thousand years, and possibly much longer.
[: ] The Lapps probably once had a somewhat homogeneous culture based
on fishing and hunting, but as early as many hundreds of years ago the different
natural surroundings in which the Lapps lived brought about cultural differentia–
tions. It is therefore justifiable to divide the Lapps into at least four
different economic-geographic cultural groups: Maritime Sea Lapps, Forest Lapps,
River Lapps , and Mountain Lapps.
The Maritime Sea Lapps occupied the coastal areas before 1600, parti–
cularly the fjord basins from and including Nordland to Finnmark, and farther
eastwards to and including the Kola Peninsula. The culture of these old Mari-Sea
time Lapps is best known from the area east of Malangen to and including the
Kola Peninsula. In this area the Maritime Sea Lapps spoke a language with few
dialect deviations. These northernmost Maritime Sea Lapps can be roughly divided
into three groups: the Maritime Sea Lapps in North Troms and Finnmark, the Skolt
Lapps from Neiden in Sør-Varanger eastward to the Murmansk Railway, and, finally,
the Maritime Sea Lapps on the Kola Peninsula.
These old Maritime Sea Lapps were semi-nomadic. They circulated by fixed routes in a clearly bounded area, according to the season of the year. A 16th C c entury
document shows that the Maritime Lapps Sea Lapps in Finnmark lived in four different places.
In the summer they stayed around the fjords and out by the sea, where they caught
fish and fowl and gathered eggs, feathers , and down. In the fall they moved farther
inland alongside the fjords, where they fished and cut timber. They went to the
mountains in winter, for hunting and fresh-water fishing. The move inland during
winter was undoubtedly also motivated by consideration for the reindeer, because
of the better grazing resources in the interior. In the spring the Lapps again
migrated to the coast, where they fished, built boats , and hunted.
Comparatively detailed information regarding the movements of the Skolt
Lapps is available from the beginning of the 20th c entury. From Christmas time
until the early part of spring they lived in small rural settlements in the
interior, in places where there was good grazing for the reindeer, as well as an
abundance of firewood and plenty of game. When the grazing lands were exhausted
and the woods around the camp depleted, the Lapps moved in springtime to the coast,
where they fished and put the raindeer out on the islands or on the peninsulas.
Around the 20th of July they moved to their summer quarters beside the big rivers,
where they fished, and in September they transferred to autumn quarters farther
inland, to live there for about three months, fishing in the lakes and hunting.
The Maritime Sea Lapp l culture was based on fishing, hunting , and reindeer
keeping herding . Fishing was carried on with the aid of hooks and lines, spears and
harpoons, nets and seines. In former times the craft used at sea was undoubtedly
a skin boat sewed together with sinews. For that matter, under the influence of
their neighbors the Lapps learned how to build good, joined wooden boats many
hundreds of years ago. Documentary evidence attests that the Maritime Sea Lapps were
masters at boat building.
The Lapps formerly hunted all kinds of game, but first and foremost wild
reindeer, which were caught in quadrangular stone devices, in pitfalls, etc.
Traps and snares were also used in hunting and trapping. For hunting weapons the Lapps used iron-tipped spears on bears and wolves, but the bow and arrow
was their main weapon until as late as the 16th and 17th centuries, when it
was replaced by the rifle fire guns firearms.
The Skolts (and in part the Kola Lapps) have retained the old Maritime Sea Lapp
Maritime Cculture up to present times; farther west — in Finnmark — it began to dis–
integrate as early as the 16th and 17th centuries. South of Finnmark — inside
the fjord basins along the coast of northern Norway — it died out even earlier
as a result of the overwhelming contact with the Norwegian fisher population.
This cultural contact has also been influential in Finnmark, but not
to the same degree as farther south, where the Maritime Sea Lapp culture experienced
a regular collapse. The Maritime Sea Lapp culture was not entirely extinguished in
Finnmark, but was transformed under the pressure of external circumstances.
Moreover, it was primarily the contact between the Maritime Sea Lapps and the Mountain
Lapps in the interior which eventually led to an alteration in the Maritime Sea
Lapp culture in Finnmark. During the 16th and 17th centuries there was a
change in the Lappic reindeer economy. The herds grew larger and larger, and
as a result the demand for grazing grounds increased. The inland Lapps began
to move out toward s the coasts, and when the great reindeer herds of the Mountain
Lapps swarmed over the coastal districts, the reindeer belonging to the Maritime Sea
Lapps were assimilated by the inland herds. This eventually made it necessary
for the Maritime Sea Lapps to abandon reindeer keeping, and to compensate for the
loss of reindeer they took up cattle keeping during the 16th and 17th centuries.
The livestock of the Maritime Sea Lapps comprised cows, sheep , and goats.
The agriculture was pronouncedly of the foraging variety. Fodder, which was
gathered in forest and field, beach and ocean, consisted of leaves and twigs
of deciduous trees, heather, moss, grass, sea tangle, seaweed , and fish waste;
all this was then cooked. The nutritive value was minimal, and starvation of
the animals was common. Consequently, the yei yield from the livestock was so
small that it was impossible to wrest a living from farming alone cattle breedingkeeping alone . Farming Keeping Cattle raising as a means of livelihood was a pronounced sideline.
As a result of the transfer to animal husbandry, with cows, sheep , and
goats, it became difficult for the Maritime Sea Lapps to move from place to place
on the same scale as before. From this time on the Maritime Sea Lapps in Finnmark limited
their movements to rotating between two camping grounds, both located along–
side the fjord. From May - June until September - October they lived at their
summer quarters; the rest of the year was spent in their winter quarters.
Meanwhile, there was a considerable numerical increase of Maritime Sea Lapps
up until to the 19th c entury. The Finnmark fjords became so densely populated
that living space began to be scarce; consequently moving from place to place
presented difficulties. In addition, the forests were so much decimat 4 e d that
the authorities were forced to intervene and assign definite areas for cutting
to each family. This had a share in keeping the population [: ] stationary,
and so the Maritime Sea Lapps eventually became fixed settlers.
Along with this process, during the 19th and 20th centuries the Maritime Sea
Lapps in Finnmark were exposed to an intensive influence from the Norwegian culture. A
flood of cheap manufactured goods accompanied the settling of a steadily in–
creasing number of Norwegians in the Maritime Sea Lapp districts. During the
1920-30 decade the Maritime Sea Lapp culture was completely uprooted; at present
it is difficult to talk about a true Maritime Sea Lapp culture. However, the
majority of the Maritime Sea Lapps still talk Lappish, even though they also under–
stand Norwegian. The "denationalized" Maritime Sea Lapps in Finnmark and Troms
today constitute more than half of the total number of Lapps in Finno-Scandinavia Fennoscandia .
They do not differ much from the permanently resident Norwegian fisher population,
and it is to be expected that before long they will be completely assimilated into
the body of the Norwegian people. Only the Skolts and some of the Lapps on the
Kola Peninsula have retained the old Maritime Sea Lapp culture up to our times.
The so-called Forest Lapps have in many ways undergone a development
comparable to that of the Maritime Sea Lapps, in that their old, semi-nomadic Lappic culture has now almost disappeared. Since early times Lapps have occupied
regions alongside the big rivers and lakes in the eastern parts of Swedish
Lap p land, where there are dense evergreen forests, as well as the forest
regions in northern Finland and on the Kola Peninsula, where they have accord–
ingly developed a culture of their own. They have become what are known in
Sweden as Forest Lapps and in Finland as Fisher Lapps.
The Forest Lapps formerly lived on by hunting and fishing. They hunted
bears, otters, beavers, martens, lynxes , and foxes, which were found in great
quantities numbers in the d e vergreen forests of northern Finno-Scandinavia Fennoscandia . Hunting
was carried on for the sake of the furs, and the pelts were sold to foreign
buyers. However, the wild reindeer was were the most important game. Documentary
evidence dating from the 1820's describes the trapping of wild reindeer by
the Finnish Forest Lapps. The reindeer were caught with the help of decoys
and with sna m r es; in addition, they were trapped in pitfalls and by other
methods.
During the course of the 18th and 19th centuries, however, the wild
reindeer completely disappeared from the Lapp marches; consequently the Forest
Lapp economy changed. The fish in the rivers and lakes, previously of minor
significance, now became a much more important economic factor. However, the
fact that the Forest Lapps began to keep domesticated reindeer [: ] for on a larger scale, ? than previously was [: really ] of equal
importance. As a matter of fact It is almost surely certain that they had domesticated a few reindeer
since early times for use as pack beasts and as decoy animals for use in
trapping, but this was only a matter of a rather small number of animals.
They did not keep domesticated reindeer for the sake of the meat and hides
originally, but following the extinction of the wild reindeer they took up
keeping domesticated deer on a somewhat larger scale.
Nevertheless, it was of the greatest importance that during the past
two hundred years the Forest Lapps began to farm to an increasing extent and
that they became permanently settled on a large scale. This was primarily due to the influence of the Swedish, Finnish , and Russian colonists who settled in
the Lapp marches in increasing numbers. At present the preponderant part of
the Forest Lapps have the same basic economy as their Swedish, Finnish , and
Russian neighbors. However, it should be mentioned that about 700 out of
the total 3,000 Swedish Forest Lapps and at least half of the more than 2,000
Finnish Fisher Lapps still keep reindeer.
The River Lapps, who live along the big rivers in Finnmark and Utsjoki,
number only a few hundred individuals. These Lapps have not been studied very
much. Their economy is comparable to that of the permanently settled Forest
Lapps. The River Lapps have specialized in river fishing, particularly salmon
fishing, but their chief means of livelihood is animal husbandry (cows and
sheep). In addition, some of them keep reindeer on a modest scale.
The majority of the true Mountain Lapps, who occupy the Swedish and Nor–
wegian alpine mountain regions, have specialized in reindeer keeping to a greater degree
than have any other Lapps. They are reindeer nomads par excellence. However,
mountain reindeer keeping on an extensive scale appears to have dev e loped at a
comparatively recent period.
In early times hunting and fishing were probably equally fully as important to
the Lapps as reindeer keeping. But even before firearms became common among
the Lapps, the beaver was practically exterminated and the stock of wild animals
had decreased to such an extent that hunting as an economic factor was reduced
to a comparatively insignificant sideline in large parts of the Lapp marches.
There is a statement dating back as far as 1850 1580 to the effect that the wild
animals had died out and that the Lapps had been forced to move to the coast.
Consequently, the levying of taxes in the form of furs was discontinued sub–
sequent to the 17th c entury in both Norway and Sweden and was replaced by a
levy of fish.
To make up for the decline in game, reindeer keeping herding was reorganized
along extensive lines. It has been claimed on the basis of tax lists from the northern Swedish Lapp territories it has been claimed that this change from
small to large herds of reindeer occurred during the 17th ce ntury. This is
undoubtedly correct, on the whole, but the change must have begun earlier in
some individual places. The Swedish historian Olaus Magnus gives clear evidence
of this. But i I n any event it is certain that mountain reindeer keeping was in
a process of continuous growth throughout the 17th c entury. In a reindeer count
made in 1705-06 by Provincial Representative Erich Lorch , he states it is stated , among other
things, that seventy Lapps moving from the interior northwards to the coast
were accompanied by 30,000 - 40,000 reindeer. Thus it is established that at
the close of the 17th century reindeer nomadism was a completely specialized
economic factor.
This metamorphosis in the economy of the Mountain Lapps from relatively
small herds to large herds made the grazing question far more burning than it
had been before. It created an inn n er pressure that found its natural outlet
in expansion toward s the north, west , and south, away from the central Lapp
regions. As a result, during the 17th century the Mountain Lapps moved all the
way out to the coast of Finnmark, and toward the south they penetrated as
far as the Pøros-Härjedal regions.
The reindeer keeping herding of the Mountain Lapps differs in several respect [: ]
from that of the Forest Lapps. , due to These two forms of reindeer keeping are based
on [: ] two different types of terrain and vegetation. The forest reindeer is
bigger and stronger than the mountain reindeer, and also has a somewhat differ–
ent bone structure. It stays in the big evergreen forests throughout the year,
while the mountain reindeer rotates between the alpine mountain area or the coastal
regions, where it spends the summer, and the big forest and heath areas inland
during the winter. While the Forest Lapps remain in the forest the year round
and have rather small herds of reindeer, the Mountain Lapps generally have
large herds which they move for long distances, at times up to 30 - 40 miles 300 - 400 kilometers . kind of miles?
During migration the Lapps use some reindeer as pack animals. These
reindeer are always males which have been castrated. The castrations were
formerly accomplished by biting the testicles to pieces and [: ]
crushing them by hand. At present tongs are also used for castrating.
The harness formerly used on reindeer, which was made on the same
principle as man y Siberian reindeer harnesses, consisted of a fur skin collar placed
around the reindeer's neck with the ends meeting between or back of the animal's
forelegs. The ends were fastened together and were then tied to a long trace
which formed the link between the hauling reindeer and the sled.
The Lapps have three or four different types of single-runnered [: ] or multiple-runnered sledges, none
of which has an ethnographic parallel among any other people. They are built
like a boat, with a keel, ribs , and bulwards, and they also skim across the
snow in boat-like fashion. [: ] One of the sleds is made from a hollowed-out log.
The sledges cannot, however, be used for all kinds of transport. Some–
times the Lapps pack on reindeer-back instead. Their pack saddle, which is
entirely different from the horse saddle, consists of two thin, curved boards,
coupled together across the back of the reindeer , behind the shoulder blades
and laced together under the belly. Sometimes a carrying device 50-70 cm. in
length is suspended from these boards, but as a rule the pack is made fast to
the saddle itself.
The Reindeer Lapp economy is based on the individual person's right
of ownership of the reindeer. Not Neither the group kin tribe, not even the family, but the individual
man or woman , owns the reindeer. This individual property right forms the
actual basis of the Mountain Lapp economy.
Ownership of the reindeer is established by means of ear markings.
During the first months after birth the calf accompanies the mother, and
therefore it is easy to determine who owns the calf. The ear markings, which
are carved with a knife in the edge of the reindeer's ears, vary somewhat from
region to region. There are from ten to fifteen various incisions that can be combined in a confusion of marking variations.
A generation ago almost all of the Lapps milked their does. In summer
the herd was driven into a big enclosure constructed of birch, and the does
were lassoed and milked. The Lasso, of the same type as that used by the
Samoyeds, consists of a throwing rope (formerly made of sinew thread or root
fibre, now a purchased hemp rope) with [: wirth], a small piece of bone attached to one end, with having a [: ] small
and a large hole bored in it attached to one end. One end of Through these holes the rope is
fastened to the small hole, while the other end is pulled through the large
hole, so that the rope raised to form s a noose.
The Lapps used special utensils for milking -- handling the milk - wooden dippers, basins,
etc. Cheese was also made in special wooden or root fibre molds. During the
1920's the Lapps stopped milking the reindeer, and concentrated thenceforth
on the production of meat for sale.
The numbers of reindeer owned by the Lapps have decreased sharply
during the recent decades, particularly in Norway. At present the Norwegian
Lapps have 78,000 domesticated reindeer and the Swedish Lapps 162,000. During
World War II , the number of reindeer, reindeer numbers in the USSR and Finland declined sharply, and but
there are no dependable figures available at present regarding the number s of
reindeer in these two countries.
Some Lapps own only a few reindeer, while others keep a couple of
thousand or more animals. It is believed that in order for a Mountain Lapp ,
to get along fairly well to be economically sound he should have 200 to 300 animals.
At present the Lapps in most places live in houses built of planks,
logs, wood, etc., along lines similar to those customary among their Norwegian,
Swedish, Finnish , and Russian neighbors. After all, Since the Lapps have become fixed
settlers to a large extent, and they have therefore felt a need for more durable
dwellings. But the old Lappic dwelling types that are adapted to a nomadic or
a semi-nomadic way of life still exist in some places.
Singularis: [] bal'lje
Pluralis: [] balljek
<formula> 360 19 ﹍ 3240 360 ﹍ 6000 </formula> <formula> 2500 6800 ﹍ 9300 </formula>
The tent remains the most functional dwelling among the Mountain Lapps,
who move from one grazing ground to [: ] another. Generally speaking, the
Lapps have two different types of tents. The simplest, and possibly the oldest,
tent construction is not very different from the North Siberian conical tent.
First a conical core, consisting of three poles fastened together at the top,
is erected. Then a number of large, straight tent poles are placed [: ] upon
the core and cris s crossed at the top, to form a conical framework which is
then covered with a tent cloth or a layer of birchbark, or an inner layer of
birchbark and an outer layer of sod. In summer the tent cloth is usually made
of burlap and in winter of wool.
But t T he most customary Lappic tent form has another construction, the
origin of which is unknown. The inner skeleton consists of four uprights,
called baelljek balljek (singular baellje bal'lje ) in Norwegian-Lappish. These poles are
curved at the top and have holes bored in them. The baelljek balljek are leaned against
each other two by two, and a shaft one a d n d one-half meters long is stuck through
the holes at the top of each pair of b ae a l'ljek , connecting the two sets with
one another. These two pair of baelljek balljek are also linked together by means of
a shaft on either side. In order to fix enlarge the framework firmly two long door
poles are leaned obliquely against each other at one end of the structure and
fastened to the top shaft. Then a long shaft is placed on a slant at the
opposit e end of the framework, and this is also made fast to the top shaft.
Finally, 10 to 20 poles are placed around a circular or oval base and leaned
against the frame. The tent cloth is then placed over the framework. The
Maritime Sea Lapps formerly constructed their dwelling on the b ae a l'lje princip al le ,
but their b ae a l'lje construction was not as standardized as that of the Mountain
Lapps. The Maritime Sea Lapps had several different variations of b ae a l'lje design,
and instead of cloth they used bark and sod for covering the fram p ework.
The floor surface of the Lappic dwellings is, or in any case was, divided into definite sections. The fireplace, which is built of
stones, is in the middle of the floor. Two poles are laid down
between the fireplace and the doorway, and the firewood is usually, but not always deposited
in the space between them. Inside the tent The innermost part of the tent, opposite the fireplace,
is a the section where cooking utensils, food, etc., are kept. This
section was considered holy in early times, and among other things
the shaman drum was kept there when not in use. A hole in the wall
behind this section now serves only as a ventilator, but formerly
functioned as the dwelling's back door, through which corpses were
carried out, game carried in, etc.
In addition to the above there are two large sections, one
on either side of the tent, which the inhabitants occupy. Among the
Røros Southern Lapps each of these two sections is divided into three smaller
sections, every one bearing its own name.
The innermost [: ] parts of the house , closest to the
cooking utensils , are considered to have the most prestige, and the
nearer the main entrance the less desirable the spot. In some regions T t he large
section to the right of the doorway, farthest inward s toward s the
"kitchen," belongs to the master of the house and his wife, while
the small children stay nearest the entry. The grown children and
the servants are assigned to the large section to the left.
In other regions the family is distributed in another way
[: ].
The old Lappic dwelling types are now in the process of dis–
appearing, and this is also true of the old Lappic dress. Thus, in
the Maritime Sea Lapp districts the old costume has practically vanished
and has been replaced by purchased, ready-made clothes of the same
style as that worn by the Lapp ' s ' neighbors. Among the Mountain
Lapps, however, the old Lappic dress is still worn in several places. occasionally seen.
The fur coat is the most important winter garment. The coat
worn by men is knee-length, but the women's coat, which is of practi- cally the same design as the men's, is longer. But since the men
pull up their coats over the belt holding them together at the waist,
the skirts extend only to the middle of the thigh when in use. Among
the southern Lapps the one of their coat s is open all the way down the front and is
generally laced or buttoned together. The coats worn by the northern
Lapps have a neck opening only. The man's coat has an upstanding
collar about 8 cm. high and the back is richly folded. It has been
said that the fur coat developed from the arctic "two-skin shirt"
which is still worn by the Chukchis, but among the Lapps the coat is
usually made of six reindeer calf fawn skins. It also has boned sides, a
fashion possibly borrowed from the Scandinavians. Inside the neck
opening the Lapps were wear a loose vest a sort of plastron . During winter an inner coat,
with the fur [: ] inside r , is worn under the outer coat, which has
the fur outside. The inner coat, in all essentials of the same design
as the outer coat, is made either of sheepskin or of reindeer skin.
It is much tighter than the outer coat. The fur coat is not worn in
the summer, but is replaced by a garment , called a kolt, made of
homespun or of tanned leather, with approximately the same design
as the fur coat.
Men and women wear trousers of the same design, made from
two pieces of homespun or leather, with long, tight legs, a wide
seat and a short waist. There is no opening either at the front
or at the sides; a cord around the waist holds the trousers up.
The design of the trousers is approximately the same as that used
by the Soyots, Samoyeds , and Voguls farther to the east.
Long leggings fashioned of untanned reindeer skin are worn
over the trousers in winter; these cover the leg from the calf to
the middle of the thigh or all the way up to the crotch.
The Lapps wear three different kinds of shoes of the mo c cas s in type, and with a slightly upturned toe. In winter they use two
kind s of skin shoes with the fur on the outside. One pair is made
from the hide of the reindeer's legs, sewed together with sinews;
the other is made partly from the hide of the reindeer's head, partly
from the leg hide. Neither of these shoes has soles. The summer
shoes are made with oxhide or reindeer leather uppers and usually
with ox leather soles.
In the place Instead of stockings the Lapps use straw packing wrapping , made
"stiåhøy? very good
by pounding sedge grass until it becomes as soft as wool.
The trouser bottoms, which are worn outside the shoes, are
fastened around the ankle with several narrow multicolored bands.
In winter the Lapps wear mittens made from the reindeer's
leg hide, with the fur outside.
The Lap i p ic headgear varies sharply from district to district;
accordingly the head covering is the primary indication of where the locality from which a
Lapp belongs hails . Moreover, there is often a great difference between
men's and women's headgear, and between that of children and adults.
The oldest Lappic headgear fashion seems to be a high-crowned cap
made of [: ] several wedge-shaped pieces sewn together. The men's
cap sometimes has a tassel at the top, the women's none.
A belt is worn around the waist. In the northernmost regions
a wide leather belt encircles the fur coat and a narrower, patterned,
woven belt the summer coat kolt . A sewing kit containing needles, scissors , and
other tools is attached to the belt.
Since early times the narrow belt, the vest plastron and the collar
of the male costume have been ornamented with tin wire embroidery.
Among the southern Lapps these parts of the costume are now embroid–
ered with strings of glass beads. The Lapps also decorate various
parts of their clothing with green, yellow , and blue cloth bands. The ornamentation — probably a loan from the Scandinavians — varies
from region to region.
Since the genuine Lappic culture is nomadic or semi-nomadic,
the primary qualification for tools, household utensils, etc., is
lightness and durability, so that hide, horn, bone , or wood are there–
fore the materials primarily used.
The men do all the work on bone, horn , and wood. They carve
all kinds of wooden bowls, make pack saddles, sleds, boats, skis,
an unusual a special sortkind of cradle, horn spoons, butter spoons, drinking cups, etc.,
and they are often masters at carving out knife sheaths and other
things, which they decorate in a fashion [: ] native to them.
The knife is an important tool, but the Lapps also use axes, saws,
planes, awls, etc.
After the men have killed reindeer, skinned them and cut up
the hides, the women take over the preparation of the hides and leather.
The women also make thread from the reindeer sinews, and sew clothing.
In addition they plait bands by hand, and fashion belts and ribbons
with the aid of a weaving apparatu r s made of horn or bone, of a
type similar to those used by the Pueblo Indians and by many other
peoples. The Lapps probably learned the art from the Scandinavians.
The women also weave baskets of treated roots.
The tin - wire craft is now in the process of disappearing among
the Lapps. The tin was first smelted in molds, so that long rods
emerged. These were then thrust through a sheet of reindeer horn
whi with a series of smaller and larger graduated holes bored in it. The rod
was first passed through the large holes, later through the smaller
and then the smallest holes until the wire became as fine as the Lapps desired.
When the wire was finished it was wound tightly around a sinew thread,
and then used to embroider belts, headgear, etc.
The division of labor among the Lapps is different for men
and women, but otherwise the social distinction between the sexes
is comparatively slighter among the Lapps than among most other peoples.
Women have a respected position within the family and among kinfolk.
The Lappic system of family relationships, which exists in
different variations, has developed to a great extent along classi–
fying principles, and goes back to an old system that was apparently
common among the Finno-Ugric peoples. However, the Lappic system
has altered with time under the influence of neighboring peoples,
and is now in a state of complete disintegration. Levirate, which
at one time demonstrably existed among the Lapps, accordingly ceased
to exist as an institution long ago.
[: Usually] Levirate will of course [: usually] result in practice in the possibility
of a man's having more than one wife; consequently, polygamy must once
have been practiced by the Lapps. During recent centuries, however,
monogamy has seems to have been the prevailing marriage form. The bride was form–
erly purchased, in that the bridegroom was required to give the girl's
family or her relatives a "gift" in the form of money, reindeer, or
something similar.
At present, in many places the family — that is to say the
man, his wife and their children — live in isolation. This is par–
ticularly true among the Maritime Sea Lapps. But in former times several
families formed a larger social group, of the type called siida in
Norwegian-Lappish. Siida is a genuine Lappish word which is not known
among the other Finno-Ugric languages. It indicates that T t he institution must be con- of ancient
siderably old origin , and indicates that at a very early period the Lapps
had arrived at a stage of social collaboration that was more advanced
than the individual family arrangement.
Each siida had its own definitely bounded territory where the entire siida lived together as an economic entity and monopolized
the h unting and trapping. Among the Skolts, who retained the siida
arrangement up until modern times, the siida ( sit in Skolt-Lappish)
had a central governing body with a chief at the head.
The Mountain Lapps still have a siida arrangement, but of a new type. it
is not based on any economic collaboration.
It represents a
special development based on the original siida system, and it is
particularly adapted to reindeer keeping. economy. The Mountain Lapps live
in definitely bounded districts or reservations, in which they
circulate with their reindeer. As a rule all the Mountain Lapps
in a given district keep their reindeer in the same herd. Con–
sequently, the Lapps in each district have a number of interests
in common. At certain intervals the Lapps of the district hold
meetings where various questions of communal interest are dis–
cussed. The Lapps in each district also elect a foreman for a
definite period of years to represent all the Lapps in the district.
With the passage of time the Lappic culture has been strongly
influenced by the Scandinavians. Accordingly, all the old Lappic
religious concepts have disappeared; at present the Lapps are
Christians, like their neighbors.
The original Lappic religious concepts were consistently
animistic. A k l l of nature had a soul, and holy mountains and stones,
as well as the sun, the moon, the thunder, the spirits of the dead,
etc., were worshipped and appealed to. Among animals the bear
was considered holy, and was celebrated during ceremonial festivals.
In addition, the Lapps had shamans, who were believed capable of
leaving their bodies and achieving contact with the spirit world.
This process occurred during an ecstatic state, when the shaman
drum was used in the same way as it was employed among by many of the Siberian Arctic peoples. The Lapps also used the drum as
a prophetic instrument. A number of figures, each with a definite
meaning, were painted on the drum. A ring or another article was
placed on the drumhead; then the drum was struck with a hammer,
and as the ring moved from figure to figure it was possible to
interpret the will of the higher powers.
The Lapps have borrowed a series of religious concepts from
their neighbors over the years, so that it is often difficult to
determine what is an original Lappic belief and what is a loan
from Finns, Norwegians , and Swedes. Possibly the Norse influence
on Lappic religion has not been as great as many scholars have
indicated, but there can be no doubt that the Lapps' original
form of religion has in any case undergone partial transformation
through contact with neighboring cultures. It has been claimed
that some elements of the Lappic religious concepts were borrowed
from the Scandinavians as early as in the Bronze Age, but this
seems doubtful. But m M any of the forces of nature originally
worshipped by the Lapps were probably transformed under Norse
influence into personal gods, and this must have happened even
before Christianity had gained any ground in Scandinavia. Ac–
cordingly, it was realized long ago that a number of the Lapps'
gods had characteristics that could have been borrowed from the
Norsemen's pagan deities. The Lappic thunder god Hora-galles
thus has characteristics reminiscent of the Scandinavian god
Thor ; the Lappic god of wind, Biegg-olmai has traits resembling
those of the Scandinavian god Njord , etc. Moreover, the Lappic
religion was significantly influenced by the Scandinavians'
Chris i tianity of the Roman Catholic period. The Trinity: God
the Father, the Son of God, and the Virgin Mary are rediscovered []in Lappic disguise under the names: A cc čč e (pronounced ahtshe ),
Radien-kiedde , and Radien-akk e a .
Chris it ti an missionaries were sent out among the Lapps as
early as medieval times, and churches were also built in the
Maritime Lapp Sea Lapp districts. The Maritime Sea Lapps west of the Kola
Peninsula were christened to a rather considerable extent,
although many of them were actually only nominally Christian.
During the 16th century a great number of the Kola Lapps also
became Christian in name. But up until about 1700 Christianity
was to a high degree nothing more than a veneer. From about that
time the Lapps were exposed to powerful Christian pressure. The
shaman drum s was were burned, and the Lapps were forced into Christianity.
Nevertheless they secretly maintained their old religious concepts
in some places until as late as well into the 19th century.
<formula> 340 7.5 ﹍ 340 1700 2380 ﹍ 2550.0 </formula>

EA-Anthrop. Falkenberg: Lapps

Bibliography

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Anonymous. Om Lappernia Vaesen i Levemaade og Afguds Dyrckelse i Nordlandene
fra Forrige Tider
, ved Marie Krekling. (Regarding Lapic practices in
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Bergsland, Knut. Røros-samiske Tekster . (Røros-lappic texts.) (Nordnorske
Samlinger II.) Oslo, 1944.

----. "Det samiske slektskaps-og svogerskaps-ordsystem." (The Lappic family and
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XIII. Oslo, 1942.

Collinder, Bjørn. Lapparna . (The Lapps.) (Verdandis småskrifter 352.) Stock–
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Düben, Gustaf von. Om Lappland och lapparne. (Concerning Lapland and the Lapps.)
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Falkenberg, Johs. Bosetningen ved indre Laksefjord i Finnmark . (The Dwelling
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Gjessing, Gjertrud and Gutorm. Lappedrakten . (The Lapp Costume.) Oslo, 1940.

Gjessing, Gutorm. Fra steinalder till jernalder i Finnmark . (From the Stone Age
to the Iron Age in Finnmark.) Oslo, 1935.

----. "Baelljegammen." Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift IX. Oslo, 1942.

----. Norges Steinalder. (Norway's Stone Age.) Oslo, 1945.

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Geografisk Tidsskirft 24. Copenhagen, 1918.

Itkonen, T. I. Lapparnas førekomst i Finland . (The Occurrence of the Lapps in
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Kildal, Jens. Afguderiets Dempelse, Ved Marie Krekling . (The Fading of Idolatry,
by Marie Krekling.) Nordnorske Samlinger V.) Oslo, 1945.

Kolsrud, Knut. Finnefolket i Ofoten . (The Finn People in Ofoten.) (Nord [: ] norske
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Laufer, Berthold. The Reindeer and its Domestication . (Mem. of the American Anthr.
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Leem, Knud. Beskrivelse over Finnmarkens Lapper . (Description of the Finnmark
Lapps.) Copenhagen, 1767.

EA-Anthrop. Falkenberg: Lapps

Lundman, Bertil. On the Origin of the Lapps. Ethnos. Stockholm, 1946.

Manker, E. Gabelstangenkote und Bogenstangenskote . Acta Ethnologia. 1938.

---. De Svenska fjällapparna. (The Swedish Mountain Lapps.) Stockholm, 1947.

Nesheim, Asbjørn. Lappisk fiske og fisketerminologi . (Lapp Fishing and Fishing
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Nielsen, Konrad. Spørsmaalet om den lappiske torvgammes oprindelse . (The Question
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----. Laerebok i Lappisk . (Lappish Textbook.) Oslo, 1926.

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Schreiner, K. E. Zur Osteologie der Lappen , I. Oslo, 1935.

Solberg, O. Eisenzeitfunde aus Ost-Finmarken. Christiania, 1909.

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Solem, Erik. Lappiske rettsstudier . (Lappic Legal Studies.) Oslo, 1933.

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Johannes Falkenberg

Ethnic Population of Siberia

EA-Anthropology
(Eugene Golomshtok)

ETHNIC POPULATION OF SIBERIA

Introduction
The term Siberia ( Sibir in Russian) which appears in Russian annals as
early as the 15th century was derived from the name of an early Tartar king–
dom in western Siberia. Today it is used to include the Asiatic part of the
U.S.S.R., from the Urals to the Pacific and north of central Asia to the Arctic.
This area comprises 14.2 million square kilometers and includes 10 national
regions and 5 independent republics.
The population of Siberia may be divided into native and immigrant groups.
In 1897 the native population of Siberia was estimated, by Patkanov, to be
870,536 or 15% of the total population of 4,889,633. Russians constituted
80% of the population. Greater immigration during the early part of the 20th
century, and the extensive industrialization of Siberia under the present regime
have increased the total number of persons to 28,000,000, with the native pop–
ulation of north Siberia, excluding that of the southwestern autonomous repub–
lics, estimated at about one million.
The native population has been divided into two major groups. A variety
of names has been used for the first group. The most generally accepted term,
Uralo-Altaians, based on linguistic and somatological classifications, is used
to imply the affinity of the Finnic, Samoyedic, Turkic, Mongolic, and Tungusic
languages, all of which are agglutinative but differ from other languages of

EA-Anthrop. Golomshtok: Ethnic Population of Siberia

this type by the absence of the prefix and the lack of changes in the root.
The objection to the use of this term, which covers somatologically related
groups with pronounced Mongolic characteristics, is the implication that their
origin was in the plateau of the Ural-Altai region, which does not apply to the
Tungus-Manchu group, derived by most investigators from the south or the Amur
basin area.
The term "Neo-Siberian" was suggested for the Uralo-Altaian group. Some
object to this term because it excludes the Mongols, Turks, and Finns living
outside of Siberia, and because it implies that the "Neo-Siberians" are new–
comers while it is believed that they spread northwestward and eastward after
the retreat of the last glaciation. The term "Siberian Mongoloids" was proposed
instead.
The second group is variously designated as Paleo-Siberians, Paleo-Asiatics,
or Americanoids reflecting their relative age and affinity with some of the Amer–
ican natives.
In the two groups, the terms Uralo-Altaians and Paleo-Asiatics are, however,
the most commonly accepted. Each group is composed of subgroups, as follows:
I. Uralo-Altaians .
1. Finno-Ugrians. (a) Northeastern Finns; Zyrians, Permians, and Votiaks.
(b) Ugrians: Ostyaks and Voguls.
2. Samoyeds, divided into: Samoyeds proper, Ostyako-Samoyeds, Yenisei
Samoyeds, and Tavghians.
3. Turks, represented by Yakuts and Dolgans.
4. Tunguso-Manchu. (a) Tungus: Tungus proper, Lamuts, and Negidals.
(b) Manchu: Goldi, Olchi, and Orochi.
5. Mongols, comprising many Tartar tribes who live too far south to be
considered within the scope of this article.

EA-Anthrop. Golomshtok: Ethnic Population of Siberia

II. Paleo-Asiatics .
1. Chukchis, Koryaks, and Kamchadals.
2. Yukaghirs and Chuvantzy.
3. Asiatic Eskimos and Aleuts.
4. Unclassified: Yenisei Ostyaks, Khante, Gilyaks, and Ainu.
Distribution and Population
As no over-all dependable figures for the native populations are available,
some discrepancy of the total population of the tribes as compared with the
figures for the totals of their subdivisions is unavoidable.
Zyrians - ( Komi ) form the basic population of the Komi Autonomous Republic
and number 186,108 (1920). Of these about 10,000 live in the Tobol, Taimen,
Omsk, Altai, and Tomsk regions of Siberia. They wander in the area from the
Urals to the Ob. Occupation: (a) semisedentary group - reindeer breeding, fishing,
and hunting; (b) sedentary group - trade and fishing. Language: Zyrian and
Russian. Religion: Greek Orthodox.
Permians - ( Komimort ). Out of a total of 128,132 (1920), 895 live in
the Tomsk, Altai, Taimen, and Tobol regions of Siberia. The rest inhabit the
Perm and Vyatka regions of European Russia and are very Russianized. Occupation:
agriculture, fishing, and hunting. Language: Permian, a dialect of Zyrian, now
supplanted by Russian and Zyrian. Religion: Greek Orthodox.
Votiaks - ( Udurmut ), numbering 1,726 in Siberia (1920). The bulk of these
people live in the Yenisei, Tomsk, Novo-Nikolaevsk, and Altai regions, with
about 100 scattered in other areas. Occupation: farming. Language: Votiak and
Russian. Religion: Greek Orthodox.
Ostyaka - ( As-yag ), (the Ob people) Khante , Khondikho , Ushtyak (in Tartar),

EA-Anthrop. Golomshtok: Ethnic Population of Siberia.

numbering 18,591 (in 1911). They inhabit the Tobol and Narym region along
the Ob, Irtysh, Kondo, and Vasugan rivers, forming colonies among the Russian
population on the Ob and Irtysh rivers. Occupation: Semisedentary — hunting,
fishing, and reindeer breeding. Language: Ostyak with 3 main dialects, Berezov,
Surgut, and Irtysh. Religion: Shamanism and Greek Orthodox. Divisions: (1)
Northern, in Berezov region — horse breeders and hunters; (2) Eastern, in
Surgut and Narym — reindeer breeders; (3) Southwestern, on the Irtysh River.
Voguls - ( Man'si , Mansa , Vogulichi , Ugra , ancient), numbering 6,814 (1911).
They inhabit the southern part of the Tobol region in the area of the northern
Sosva, Konda, and Tavda rivers, and in the Ural part of the Perm region. Occupa–
tion: hunting and fishing. Language: Vogul (4 dialects) and Russian in the
Perm region. Religion: Shamanism and Greek Orthodox.
Samoyeds - ( Khasovo , Samoyedam. in Lopar). Numbering 18,021 (1920), they
inhabit the tundra from the shores of the White Sea to the mouth of the Podkam–
enka and Balakhna rivers in Khatanga Bay (together with Zyrians) and occupy a
narrow belt along the left bank of the Yenisei as far south as Krasnoyarsk.
Occupation: Reindeer breeding, hun ting , and fishing. Divisions: (1) Uraks,
numbering 7,057 (1911), distributed in the Archangel region, Komi, Ob, and Tasov
gulfs and the tundra of Turukhansk, along the left bank of the Yenisei as far
north as Dudinka, and the lower reaches of the Taz. (2) Yenisei Ostyaks and
Tavghians, numbering 899 (1917). They live in the Yenisei region along the
right bank of the river from the Khatanga River to Dudinka and Norilsk Lake.
(3) Forest Samoyeds ( Pyan Khasovo ). Numbering 600 (1917), they live on the Ob–
Taz water divide in the basin of the Pur River. (4) Ostyako-Samoyeds. Numbering
6,559 (1927), they live in the Turukhansk region and in the forest area along
the Turukhan and Taz rivers.

EA-Anthrop. Golomshtok: Ethnic Population of Siberia

Yakuts - ( Saka , Sakha ). Numbering 235,500 (1925), they are the basic
population of the Yakut A.S.S.R. Occupation: Animal breeding, supplemented
by agriculture, hunting and fishing. Religion: Christianity with strong
remnants of shamanism. Language: Yakut. Organization: Divided into clans.
Dolgans - ( Saka ) are Yakutized Tungus, numbering 967 (1897), who live in
the Turukhansk region of the former Yenisei government. They wander along the
Taimyr River, the upper part of the Piasina River and the Dudinka and Norilsk
lakes. Occupation: Migratory reindeer breeders and hunters. Language: Yakut.
Religion: Shamanism. Organization: Divided into two clans.'
Tungus - ( Evenki ). Numbering 53,197 (1897), they live spread out in
central Siberia east of the Yenisei, in the Far Eastern province, in the Yakut
region, and the Buriato-Mongol A.S.S.R. Occupation: Reindeer breeding and
hunting in central Siberia and in the Yakut region, animal breeding (29,737)
in the Trans-Baikal region, and agriculture (4,175) in the Trans-Baikal region.
Language: Tungus, Russian, Buriat, and Yakut, depending upon the place of habi–
tation. Religion: Shamanism, and Buddist-Lamaist (9,258) persons in the south
Trans-Baikal region). Organization: Divided into clans. Divisions: (1) Orchens
(reindeer Tungus), living in the Buriato-Mongolian A.S.S.R., the Trans-Baikal
region and the Amur province. (2) Murchens (horse Tungus), horse breeding
people of Buriato Mongol A.S.S.R. (3) Manyegers (from the clan name manveghir )
live along the Zeya and Amur rivers. Formerly Man [: ] hirs, Guruars, Ullagers, and
other clans of the Silindra and Bureya river basins were collectively called
Birars (the river Tungus). (4) Solons (from the Mongolian solon - shooter),
who in 1897 lived in small numbers along the lower course of the Iman River,
the right tributary of the Ussuri.
Lamuts - (from the Tungus "lamur," Sea People) ( Even , Eveshel ). Numbering

EA-Anthrop. Golomshtok: Ethnic Population of Siberia

9,049 (1897), they live in the Kolyma and Verkhoyansk regions of the Yakut
A.S.S.R. (2,399), and along the Okhotsk and Kamchatka shores (6,650). In the
Far Eastern province they are called Orochen and Tungus. Occupation: Reindeer
breeding, hunting, and fishing. 240 are sedentary in the Anadyr and Okhotsk
regions. Language: Lamut. Religion: Shamanism. Organization: Clans.
Negidals - ( Amguns , Elken-beje ). Numbering 423 (1897), they live on the
shores of the Amgun River on the left tributary of the Amur. Occupation: Fish–
ing, hunting, and dog breeding. Language: Negidal. Religion: Shamanism. Organ–
ization: Clans.
Goldi - ( Nanai , Nani ). Numbering 5,441 (1897), they live along the lower
course of the Amur and its left tributaries, the Khor, Bikin, Iman, and Vaku rivers.
Occupation: Fishing, hunting, and dog breeding. Language: Goldi. Religion:
Shamanism. Organization: Divided into clans. Divisions: (1) Samars or Samag–
hirs, living along the Gorin River. (2) Khodzans (from Khodze-nai, lower people),
living along the lower courses of rivers. (3) Solons, living along the upper
courses of rivers.
Ol'chi - ( Ulcha , Nanej , Nani ). Numbering 2,204 (1897), they live along the
lower Amur from the town of Maninsk to the village of Tlyaz, as well as on the
island of Sakhalin (150). Occupation: Fishing, hunting, dog breeding, and rein–
deer breeding on Sakhalin. Language: Ol'chi, (a dialect of Goldi). Religion:
Shamanism. Organization: Divided into clans. Divisions: (1) Sakhalin-Oroki;
(2) Amur-Mangun (from Manu , large river); (3) Ol'chi (from ulya , domestic rein–
deer).
Orochi - ( Nani, Kekari ). Numbering 2,407 (1897), they live between Tartar
Strait and the Sea of Japan, on one side, and the Ussuri River on the other.
Occupation: Hunting, fishing, and agriculture. Language: Orochi and Chinese.

EA-Anthrop. Golomshtok: Ethnic Population of Siberia

Religion: Shamanism, Greek Orthodox, and some Buddism. Divisions: (1) Orochi
proper 460 (1924), living from the Gulf of De-Costi to the Kop River and in the
basin of the Tumnin River. (2) Ude-he (Udyhe) 2,000, south and west of the
first group, along the Samarga, Iman, Bikin, Khor, On'jien, and Khungari rivers.
(3) The southern portion of the Ude-he, known as Taz, and completely Chinoised.
Chukchis - ( Laurovetlan , Tan'g in Koryak). Numbering 12,000 (1900), they
live in the Chukotsk region. Part of the Reindeer Chukchi live in the tundra
in the Kolyma region of the Yakut A.S.S.R., from the river Chau to the Indigirka
River. In the southern part of the area they live together with the Koryaks.
Occupation: Reindeer breeding and sea animal hunting. Language: Chukchi. Re–
ligion: Shamanism. Divisions: (1) 9,000 Reindeer Chukchi ( chavchu — reindeer
breeder). (2) 7,530 Maritime Chukchi ( nvmvlyt — occupants).
Koryaks - ( Nymylan , Tan'g in Chukchi. Numbering 6,702 (1924), they live
on Kamchatka Peninsula adjoining the Chukchis in the north. Their villages are
along the shores of the Bering Sea to Anadyr Bay, and reach southwest to the
village of Yamsk on the Okhotsk shores. In the south the Reindeer Koryaks
wander to the Anadyr chain. On Kamchatka the Koryak settlements are separated
from the Kamchadals by a line between the village of Ozernoye and the village
of Amanino. Occupation: Reindeer breeding, fishing, and sea-animal hunting.
Language: Koryak, and Russian in some villages. Religion: Shamanism. Divisions:
(1) Reindeer Koryaks, 3,748 (1900); (2) Maritime Koryaks, 3,782 (1900), a sed–
entary group which settled on the seashores or at the mouths of rivers. The
members of the Koryak tribe living in the north along the Bering Sea are called
Kereks.
Kamchadals - ( Itelmens ). Numbering 5,700 (1924), they live in the southern
two-thirds of Kamchatka. Occupation: Fishing, hunting, dog breeding, some cattle

EA-Anthrop. Golomshtok: Ethnic Population of Siberia

breeding, and a little vegetable growing. They are very much Russianized.
Language: Mostly Russian; only about 1,000 speak Kamchadal along the south
shore of the Okhotsk Sea, in the villages of Kharyuzovo, Amanino, and Sedanka.
Religion: Greek Orthdox.
Yukaghirs - ( Odul , Etal , Atal — in Chukchi and Koryak). Numbering 1,003
(1901), they live in the Verkhoyansk and Kolyma regions of the Yakut A.S.S.R.,
along the upper part of the tributaries of the Kolyma, the Yasachnaya, and the
Korkodon rivers, as well as along the upper part of the Kolyma and between the
Kolyma and the Omolon rivers in scattered groups. Occupation: Reindeer breeding,
hunting, and fishing (nomadic). Language: (1) Yukaghir (along the Upper Kolyma),
(2) Tundra Yukaghir (between the Kolyma and the Indigirka); (3) Tungus (between
the Indigirka and the Yana); (4) Yakut (between the Yana and the Lena). Religion:
Shamanism, considerably influenced by contact with Tungus, Yakut, and Russians.
Chuvantzy - ( Etels ). Numbering 452 (1901), they are ethnically close to
Yukaghirs and were once a part of that group. They live in the Anadyr district
of the Kamchatka region, and in the Kolyma region of the Yakut A.S.S.R., along
the lower course of the Omolon, the upper part of the Anadyr, and along the
Yabolon and Yaropol rivers. Occupation: Fishing, hunting, and some reindeer
breeding. More than half (276) are sedentary and are very Russianized. Language:
Russian (among the sedentary groups) and Chukchi or Koryak (among the nomadic
people). Religion: Shamanism.
Asiatic Eskimos - ( Ijut , man), aivan (in Chukchi), namolo (the inhabitants,
in Koryak). The American Eskimo self name is inuit . Numbering 1,600 (1900),
the bulk, 1,200, live on the Chukotsk Peninsula, and the rest inhabit the Dio–
medes and St. Lawrence islands. They live in villages along the Asiatic shores
of Bering Strait and in 13 villages grouped near Capes Dezhnev and Chaplin.

EA-Anthrop. Golomshtok: Ethnic Population of Siberia

Occupation: Sea-animal hunting. Language: Eskimo, 3 dialects. Religion:
Shamanism and animism. Divisions: (1) Aivan, 677 (1897); (2) Vuteen , 120
(1897), living on the shore of Anadyr Gulf; (3) Noakan or Peeks , 510 (1897),
living near Cape Dezhnev.
Aleuts - ( Unaniun , Unangan ). Numbering 552 in the U.S.S.R. (1900), they
live on the Commander Islands, and are greatly mixed with the Russians. They
live in villages, but in the summer form temporary settlements along the sea–
shore. Occupation: Fishing. Language: Aleut. Religion: Christianity and the
remains of Shamanism.
Yenisei Ostyaks or Yeniseyan Kets . Numbering 1,281 (1917), they live in
the Yenisei region, along the right tributaries of the Yenisei, the Stony Tung–
uska, Bakhata, Lower Tunguska, and Kureika rivers; some live among the Russians
along the shores of the Yenisei River. Occupation: Fishing and hunting (semi–
sedentary). Language: Yenisei Ostyak and Russian (among those who live with
the Russians). Religion: Shamanism.
Gilyaks - ( Nigvvyn , Nivukh ). Numbering 4,298 (1911), they live on the lower
part of the Amur River, along the shores of the Amur Gulf, and in the northern
part of Sakhalin in separate villages. Occupation: Fishing and hunting land and
sea-animals (semisedentary). Language: Gilyak (several dialects). Religion:
Shamanism and Greek Orthodox in the Amur region. Divisions: Divided into clans.
Ainu - ( Ainu ). Out of a total of 20,000, 1,457 (1897) live in the southern
part of Sakhalin and the rest live in Hokkaido. Occupation: Fishing and sea–
animal hunting. Language: Ainu. Religion: Shamanism.
History
Siberian prehistory is far from being clear. The question of the extent

EA-Anthrop. Golomshtok: Ethnic Population of Siberia

of the Quaternary glaciation of Siberia remains unanswered. Some (Obruchev)
argue that glaciation covered not only elevated places but the lowlands of
almost all of northern and northeastern Siberia. Others (Tugarinov, Ephimenko)
limit the ice cover to the highlands and a part of wes tern and northwestern
Siberia (Ural-Taimyr area). It is assumed that at the end of the Tertiary
period, the Asiatic continent extended farther north than at present and was
connected with North America. Early in Pleistocene times the mild climate of
Siberia [: ] gradually became colder.
Archaeological evidence shows that Siberia has been inhabited for a con–
siderable period of time. Even from comparatively few investigations, which
uncovered only scattered and infrequent remains, enough evidence has been
gathered to show that in several areas, usually along large rivers (Yenisei,
Angara), there were human settlements belonging to the Upper Paleolithic period.
The archaeological sites on the Yenisei River are generally dated as belonging
to the Magdalenian period and are characterized by stone implements made out
of hard stone found in the form of river pebbles. They include massive scrapers
almost of Mousterian shape but made by pressure flaking and varying in form.
Points are comparatively rare. The bulk of the tools have small blades detached
from prismatic nuclei and reworked into perforators and cutting and engraving
tools. Miniature stone tools in the shape of round or semi-round scrapers are
frequently found. Bone implements, though badly preserved, are made out of
reindeer horn and bones and include spear points, b a