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    The Indians

    Encyclopedia Arctica 8: Anthropology and Archeology

    The Indians

    Regional Description

    The Tlingit, Haida, and Eyak Indians of Southeastern Alaska

    001      |      Vol_VIII-0116                                                                                                                  

    (Viola E. Garfield)



    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

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    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.

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    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

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    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.

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    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

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    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,

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    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

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    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

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    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.

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    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.

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    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

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    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.

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    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

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    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


            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


            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

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    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

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    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

    017      |      Vol_VIII-0132                                                                                                                  
    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

    018      |      Vol_VIII-0133                                                                                                                  
    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–


            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

    019      |      Vol_VIII-0134                                                                                                                  
    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.



            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


            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

    020      |      Vol_VIII-0135                                                                                                                  
    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.

    021      |      Vol_VIII-0136                                                                                                                  
    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

    022      |      Vol_VIII-0137                                                                                                                  
    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

    023      |      Vol_VIII-0138                                                                                                                  
    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

    024      |      Vol_VIII-0139                                                                                                                  
    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

    025      |      Vol_VIII-0140                                                                                                                  
    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

    Unpaginated      |      Vol_VIII-0141                                                                                                                  

    (Robert McKennan)




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

    001      |      Vol_VIII-0142                                                                                                                  

    (Robert McKennan)



            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

    002      |      Vol_VIII-0143                                                                                                                  
    EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Alaska, Athapaskans

    upper waters of the Tanana and Chandalar rivers whose natives therefore

    depend for their subsistence almost entirely upon hunting.



            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

    003      |      Vol_VIII-0144                                                                                                                  
    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

    004      |      Vol_VIII-0145                                                                                                                  
    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

    005      |      Vol_VIII-0146                                                                                                                  
    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

    006      |      Vol_VIII-0147                                                                                                                  
    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

    007      |      Vol_VIII-0148                                                                                                                  
    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;

    008      |      Vol_VIII-0149                                                                                                                  
    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

    009      |      Vol_VIII-0150                                                                                                                  
    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


            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

    010      |      Vol_VIII-0151                                                                                                                  
    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

    011      |      Vol_VIII-0152                                                                                                                  
    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,

    012      |      Vol_VIII-0153                                                                                                                  
    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.

    013      |      Vol_VIII-0154                                                                                                                  
    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


            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

    014      |      Vol_VIII-0155                                                                                                                  
    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.



            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

    015      |      Vol_VIII-0156                                                                                                                  
    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


    016      |      Vol_VIII-0157                                                                                                                  
    EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Alaskan Athapaskans


    1. Allen, Henry T. Report of an Expedition to the Copper, Tanana, and Koyukuk

    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–


    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

    Unpaginated      |      Vol_VIII-0158                                                                                                                  

    (Robert A. McKennan)




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

    001      |      Vol_VIII-0159                                                                                                                  

    (Robert A. McKennan)



            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.

    002      |      Vol_VIII-0160                                                                                                                  
    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

    003      |      Vol_VIII-0161                                                                                                                  
    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,

    004      |      Vol_VIII-0162                                                                                                                  
    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


            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.

    005      |      Vol_VIII-0163                                                                                                                  
    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

    006      |      Vol_VIII-0164                                                                                                                  
    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


            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

    006a      |      Vol_VIII-0165                                                                                                                  
    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

    007      |      Vol_VIII-0166                                                                                                                  
    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;

    008      |      Vol_VIII-0167                                                                                                                  
    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

    009      |      Vol_VIII-0168                                                                                                                  
    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

    010      |      Vol_VIII-0169                                                                                                                  
    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.

    011      |      Vol_VIII-0170                                                                                                                  
    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

    012      |      Vol_VIII-0171                                                                                                                  
    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

    013      |      Vol_VIII-0172                                                                                                                  
    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

    014      |      Vol_VIII-0173                                                                                                                  
    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.

    015      |      Vol_VIII-0174                                                                                                                  
    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.

    016      |      Vol_VIII-0175                                                                                                                  
    EA-Anthrop. McKennan: Canada, Athapaska


    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)

    Unpaginated      |      Vol_VIII-0176                                                                                                                  

    [John M. Cooper]

    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

    001      |      Vol_VIII-0177                                                                                                                  

    [John M. Cooper]




    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.

    002      |      Vol_VIII-0178                                                                                                                  
    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–

    , 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.

    003      |      Vol_VIII-0179                                                                                                                  
    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

    ), white spruce ( P. canadensis ), tamarack ( Larix americana ), balsam fir

    ( Abies balsamica ), balsam poplar ( P. balsamifera ), and canoe birch ( Betula


            The mammals, birds and fishes of most importance in the northern Cree economy


            Mammals: Moose ( Alces americana ), woodland caribou ( Rangifer caribou ), black

    bear ( Euarctos americanus ), polar bear ( Thalarctos maritimus ), gray wolf ( Canis

    ), red fox ( Vulpes fulva ), marten ( Martes americana ), fisher ( M. pennanti ),

    short-tailed weasel ( Mustela cicognanii ), least weasel ( M. rixosa ), mink ( M. vison ),

    004      |      Vol_VIII-0180                                                                                                                  
    EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

    wolverine ( Gulo luscus )R, skunk ( Mephitis mephitis ), American otter ( Lutra cana–

    ), muskrat ( Ondatra zibethica ), woodchuck ( Marmota monax ), beaver ( Castor

    ), Canada porcupine ( Erethizon dorsatus) , snowshoe rabbit ( Lepus ameri–

    ). 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


            Birds: Spruce grouse ( Canachites canadensis ), Canada ruffed grouse ( Bonasa

    ), 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 --

    005      |      Vol_VIII-0181                                                                                                                  
    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,


            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.)



            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

    006      |      Vol_VIII-0182                                                                                                                  
    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.)



            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

    007      |      Vol_VIII-0183                                                                                                                  
    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

    008      |      Vol_VIII-0184                                                                                                                  
    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

    009      |      Vol_VIII-0185                                                                                                                  
    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-

    010      |      Vol_VIII-0186                                                                                                                  
    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-

    011      |      Vol_VIII-0187                                                                                                                  
    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.

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    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


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    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.

    014      |      Vol_VIII-0190                                                                                                                  
    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

    015      |      Vol_VIII-0191                                                                                                                  
    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

    016      |      Vol_VIII-0192                                                                                                                  
    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.

    017      |      Vol_VIII-0193                                                                                                                  
    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.

    [ ?]

    018      |      Vol_VIII-0194                                                                                                                  
    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.



            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

    019      |      Vol_VIII-0195                                                                                                                  
    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


            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

    020      |      Vol_VIII-0196                                                                                                                  
    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

    021      |      Vol_VIII-0197                                                                                                                  
    EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

    common before going out to hunt, as on certain other occasions such as curing


            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.



            Among the more widely believed-in mythical beings are: wihtiko , the dreaded

    cannibalistic giant who wanders around the woods literally seeking whom he may

    022      |      Vol_VIII-0198                                                                                                                  
    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.


    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,


    ----, 1946. The Culture of the Northeastern Indian Hunters: A Reconstructive In–

    terpretation. In R.S.Peabody Foundation for Archaeology, Papers 3:272-305.

    023      |      Vol_VIII-0199                                                                                                                  
    EA-Anthrop. Cooper: Northern Cree

    Davidson, D. S., 1928a. Notes on Tete de Boule Ethnology. American Anthropologist,


    ----, 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,


    ----, 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.,


    ----,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.

    024      |      Vol_VIII-0200                                                                                                                  
    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,



    John M. Cooper

    The Montagnais-Naskapi

    Unpaginated      |      Vol_VIII-0201                                                                                                                  

    (Frank G. Speck)




    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

    001      |      Vol_VIII-0202                                                                                                                  

    (Frank G. Speck)





            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

    002      |      Vol_VIII-0203                                                                                                                  
    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

    003      |      Vol_VIII-0204                                                                                                                  
    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.

    004      |      Vol_VIII-0205                                                                                                                  
    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,

    005      |      Vol_VIII-0206                                                                                                                  
    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,

    006      |      Vol_VIII-0207                                                                                                                  
    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

    007      |      Vol_VIII-0208                                                                                                                  
    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.

    008      |      Vol_VIII-0209                                                                                                                  
    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.

    009      |      Vol_VIII-0210                                                                                                                  
    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

    010      |      Vol_VIII-0211                                                                                                                  
    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




            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

    011      |      Vol_VIII-0212                                                                                                                  
    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

    012      |      Vol_VIII-0213                                                                                                                  
    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

    013      |      Vol_VIII-0214                                                                                                                  
    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

    014      |      Vol_VIII-0215                                                                                                                  
    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

    015      |      Vol_VIII-0216                                                                                                                  
    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

    016      |      Vol_VIII-0217                                                                                                                  
    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

    017      |      Vol_VIII-0218                                                                                                                  
    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

    018      |      Vol_VIII-0219                                                                                                                  
    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 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.

    019      |      Vol_VIII-0220                                                                                                                  
    EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais_Naskapi

    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


            Symbolical interpretation of decorative patterns varies with individuals,

    as questioning has shown. In some of the southern bands there is an art

    020      |      Vol_VIII-0221                                                                                                                  
    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

    021      |      Vol_VIII-0222                                                                                                                  
    EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

    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


            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

    022      |      Vol_VIII-0223                                                                                                                  
    EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

    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).

    023      |      Vol_VIII-0224                                                                                                                  
    EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi


    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

    024      |      Vol_VIII-0225                                                                                                                  
    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.

    025      |      Vol_VIII-0226                                                                                                                  
    EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

    (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.)

    026      |      Vol_VIII-0227                                                                                                                  
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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.

    027      |      Vol_VIII-0228                                                                                                                  
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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

    028      |      Vol_VIII-0229                                                                                                                  
    EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

    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


    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.

    029      |      Vol_VIII-0230                                                                                                                  
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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


            There is little evidence of patterning in events of the individual

    life cycle of the Montagnais-Naskapi. Ceremony is lacking in connection with

    030      |      Vol_VIII-0231                                                                                                                  
    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

    031      |      Vol_VIII-0232                                                                                                                  
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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


            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

    032      |      Vol_VIII-0233                                                                                                                  
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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.

    033      |      Vol_VIII-0234                                                                                                                  
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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

    034      |      Vol_VIII-0235                                                                                                                  
    EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi

    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

    035      |      Vol_VIII-0236                                                                                                                  
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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

    036      |      Vol_VIII-0237                                                                                                                  
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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


    037      |      Vol_VIII-0238                                                                                                                  
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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 );

    038      |      Vol_VIII-0239                                                                                                                  
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    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

    039      |      Vol_VIII-0240                                                                                                                  
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    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.

    040      |      Vol_VIII-0241                                                                                                                  
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    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.

    041      |      Vol_VIII-0242                                                                                                                  
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    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).

    042      |      Vol_VIII-0243                                                                                                                  
    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

    043      |      Vol_VIII-0244                                                                                                                  
    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.

    044      |      Vol_VIII-0245                                                                                                                  
    EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi


    1. Bailey, A.G. Conflict of European and Eastern Algonkian Cultures .

    The New Brunswick Museum, St. John, New Brunswick, 1937.

    2. Birket-Smith, Kaj. The Eskimos . Forward by D. Jenness. 1936.

    3. Burgesse, J.A. The Woman and the Child Among the Lac-St.-Jean Montagnais ,

    Primitive Man, Vol. XVII, Nos. 1 and 2. 1944.

    4. Cartwright, Capt. George. Capt. Cartwright and His Labrador Journal ,

    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,

    Washington, D.C. 1938.

    9. ----. Is the Algonquian Family Hunting Ground System Pre-Columbian?

    American Anthropologist, Vol. 41, No.1, 1939.

    10. Flannery, R. An analysis of Coastal Algonquian Culture, The Catholic

    University of America, Anthropological Series, No.7, Washington, D.C.

    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, [ ?]


    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.

    045      |      Vol_VIII-0246                                                                                                                  
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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–

    tively in Journal of American Folklore, XXVIII: CVII, pp.52-77, 1915.

    28. ----. "The Family Hunting Band as the Basis of Algonkian Social Organi–

    zation," American Anthropologist, 17-2, pp. 289-305. 1915.

    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.

    046      |      Vol_VIII-0247                                                                                                                  
    EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi - Bibliography

    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,


    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:

    Rome, pp.323-332. 1926.

    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.

    047      |      Vol_VIII-0248                                                                                                                  
    EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais-Naskapi - Bibliography

    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

    Theory." In collaboration with L. C. Eiseley. American Anthropologist ,

    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

    L. C. Eiseley, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society ,

    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.

    048      |      Vol_VIII-0249                                                                                                                  
    EA-Anthrop. Speck: The Montagnais_Naskapi - Bibliography

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

    Bureau of American Ethnology, Washington, D.C., 1889-90. 1894.

    68. Weaver, J.E., and Shelford, F.E. Plant Ecology, N.Y. 1938.


    Frank G. Speck

    Peoples of Northern Eurasia

    The Lapps

    001      |      Vol_VIII-0250                                                                                                                  

    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

    [in margin—seems irrelevant to text] 21 12 / 52 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

    002      |      Vol_VIII-0251                                                                                                                  
    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.")


            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.

            [in margin—seems irrelevant to text] 28 3 / 84 28/36 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

    003      |      Vol_VIII-0252                                                                                                                  
    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

    004      |      Vol_VIII-0253                                                                                                                  
    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


    Country Lapp Po l p ulation
    USSR 1,800
    Finland 2,300
    Sweden 8,500
    Norway 19,100

            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

    005      |      Vol_VIII-0254                                                                                                                  
    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:

    1. 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.

    2. Enare-Lappish, which is spoken by a number of more or less permanently

      settled fisher Lapps in the Enare district.

    3. 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.

    4. Lule-Lappish, in Gällivare and Jokkmokk (both Sweden) , and in the adjacent parts

      of Norway.

    5. Pite-Lappish, in the northern part of Arvidsjaur and most of Arje–

      plog (both Sweden) , as well as in the bordering part of Norway.

    6. Ume-Lappish, between the Pite-Lappish area and the Ume River (Sweden) , as

      well as in the adjoining part of Norway.

    7. 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

    006      |      Vol_VIII-0255                                                                                                                  
    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

    007      |      Vol_VIII-0256                                                                                                                  
    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,

    008      |      Vol_VIII-0257                                                                                                                  
    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

    009      |      Vol_VIII-0258                                                                                                                  
    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


            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

    010      |      Vol_VIII-0259                                                                                                                  
    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

    011      |      Vol_VIII-0260                                                                                                                  
    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

    012      |      Vol_VIII-0261                                                                                                                  
    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

    013      |      Vol_VIII-0262                                                                                                                  
    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

    014      |      Vol_VIII-0263                                                                                                                  
    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


            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

    015      |      Vol_VIII-0264                                                                                                                  
    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

    016      |      Vol_VIII-0265                                                                                                                  
    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?

    017      |      Vol_VIII-0266                                                                                                                  

            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

    018      |      Vol_VIII-0267                                                                                                                  
    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.

    019      |      Vol_VIII-0268                                                                                                                  

            Singularis: [?] bal'lje

    Pluralis: [?] balljek

    360 19 ﹍ 3240 360 ﹍ 6000 2500 6800 ﹍ 9300

            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,

    020      |      Vol_VIII-0269                                                                                                                  
    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-

    021      |      Vol_VIII-0270                                                                                                                  
    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

    022      |      Vol_VIII-0271                                                                                                                  
    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.

    023      |      Vol_VIII-0272                                                                                                                  
    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.

    024      |      Vol_VIII-0273                                                                                                                  

            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

    025      |      Vol_VIII-0274                                                                                                                  
    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

    026      |      Vol_VIII-0275                                                                                                                  
    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