METIS-L ArchivesArchiver > METIS > 2002-09 > 1031004913
From: Stanley Hulme <>
Subject: [METIS-L] Athapaskan Linguistic Group
Date: Mon, 02 Sep 2002 15:30:07 -0700
There is no Athabaska tribe as such but there is an Athapaskan
linguistic group. The following is taken from the Dictionary of Canadian
Athapaskans. The tribes within the larger Athapaskan linguistic family of
northwest North America who are in close cultural and linguistic
relationship and inhabit the Arctic drainage and parts of the western
drainage of Hudson Bay; frequently referred to as the Déné. This group
includes the tribes known as the Beavers, Chipewyans, Dogribs, Hares,
Yellowknives, and Slaveys (in Diamond Jenness' book Indians of Canada, he
includes the Sekani, Nahani and Kutchin).
For years after 1717, when Fort Prince of Wales was established at the
mouth of the Churchill River, the only tribe that was in continuous contact
was the Chipewyans, then known to the Hudson's Bay Company men only as the
Northern Indians. In 1715 William Stuart*, accompanied by Thanadelthur*, a
Chipewyan woman, and a number of Crees, had travelled northwest from York
Factory to try to make peace between the Crees and the Chipewyans and thus
to establish trade relations with the latter. Two years later the young
Richard NORTON was sent inland from Churchill River in an attempt to bring
Chipewyans down to the bay to trade, but he met no Indians. The aboriginal
territorial limits of the Déné tribes cannot be defined exactly but the
general areas can be described with a degree of certainty. The Chipewyans
were exploiting the northern transitional forest zone north and west of
Churchill almost to the mouth of the Coppermine River. They travelled by
foot to Churchill for many years after they began trading; they did not
follow the Churchill River route by canoes. There is archaeological and
historical evidence that Algonkian speaking peoples, historically identified
as the Crees, exploited the full boreal forest zone, which was south of
Chipewyan lands, and which included the Churchill River basin. By the late
1700s the Chipewyans began to move into the boreal forest previously used
only by the Crees. By the early 1800s the Chipewyans exploited a large
expanse of territory from Churchill River west to Lake Athabasca and
northward to the tundra, including the eastern end of Great Slave Lake and
most of the Coppermine River.
The most easterly Chipewyan sub-group, later known as the Caribou Eaters
(Mangeurs de Caribou), were probably the most frequent visitors to Churchill
in the 18th century. The Copper Indians (Couteaux Jaunes), later known as
the Yellowknives, were the only other group specifically identified in the
first half of the 18th century. They were the Chipewyan subgroup that
exploited the transitional forest from the eastern end of Great Slave Lake
to near the mouth of the Coppermine River. Their designation as "Copper
Indians" dates from 1714 when they were reported as Indians who made copper
implements and who travelled in a distant area of rich copper deposits that
the HBC attempted to locate several times in the 18th century. Occasionally
some of these Indians travelled to Fort Churchill with other Chipewyans.
Samuel Hearne*, who located the uneconomical copper deposits west of the
Coppermine River, met the "Copper Indians" within their own territory in
1771. The Dogribs (Platscotés de Chiens) are also mentioned a few times in
early accounts. Prior to Hearne these references must be considered a
general designation, based on hearsay reports, for one or more tribes of the
Déné group. Henry Kelsey*'s Dogsides (1691), Claude-Charles Le Roy* de La
Potherie's Attimospiquaies (1753), and Arthur Dobbs' Platscotez de Chiens
(1744) cannot be considered specific references to the Dogribs who inhabited
the area between Great Slave Lake and Great Bear Lake in historic times.
The Slaveys (Esclaves), are not specifically mentioned in 18th-century
accounts. In this period "Slave" had no specific tribal attribution but was
a term adopted by the traders from the Cree to refer to Déné groups bullied
by the Crees. The Slavey tribe of more recent designation is located on the
southwest end of Great Slave Lake, most of the Liard River, and along the
Mackenzie River to the mouth of the Great Bear River. The Beaver Indians
(Castors) were not identified as a tribe until the 1780s when Peter Pond*
had a trading post on the Athabasca River. They inhabited the area between
Lake Athabasca and the Rocky Mountains in the Peace River basin. The Hares
(Peaux-de-Lièvres) were identified by Alexander Mackenzie* in 1789; they
inhabit the area north and west of Great Bear Lake to the Mackenzie River."
Hope this helps.
----- Original Message -----
From: Viola Seward <>
Sent: Monday, September 02, 2002 8:23 AM
Subject: [METIS-L] My Marie Landry!!
> Hello Friends and family. Well have came to the conclusion my Marie had a
different name. Plus a lady wrote me and told me i was probably barking up
the wrong Duncan Tree!!!
> But my belief is very strong that she is Chippewa as my grandmother never
lied that i ever heard about!1 But what is Athabaska? Is it a tribe or area
> So any good sound advise is needed. I have guessed, Promised And begged to
find her some place or any where!!
> I thank you.
|[METIS-L] Athapaskan Linguistic Group by Stanley Hulme <>|