Native American Tribes: The Tlingit

Figure 1.--This photograph shows seven Chilkat Indian men and boys posed in ceremonial dancing costumes, Notice that the adults are wearing nose rings. The photograph was taken about 1895 and Western clothing was already becoming dominant. Rge Chilkat are a Tlingit sub-tribe. I'm not sure what the stick is, perhaps a war club. The photograph was taken in Juneau, Alaska.

The Tlingit are a Native American tribal group in the North Pacific cultural area. Their own name is Lingít, which is the base of the modern English-language name. The reibal nam is also sometimes spelled Tlinkit. The name means 'People of the Tides' describing their economic fondation, gathering shellfish in costal waters. The Tlingit people are a matrilineal society which pursued a complex hunter-gatherer culture in the temperate rainforest along the southeastern coast of what is now Alaska coast and the Alexander Archipelago. A warm current flowing north along the coast results in a relatively moderate climate along the coast for such a northerly location. There are several subtribes such as the Chikat. There is also is also the Inland Tlingit which moved away from the coast and developed a different life style. They inhabits the far northwestern part of the Canadian province of British Columbia and the southern Yukon Territory. The Tlingit language is complicated and rather difficult for English speakers to pronounce. It is now spoken mostly by elders. Tlingit people did not dress as earmly as most norther tribes. Men traditionally wore breech cloths and the women short skirts made of cedar bark. Villagers further inland who experienced colder weather dressed more warmly. Women wore longer deerskin dresses and men wore Athabaskan-style pants with sewn-on moccasins. Fardy Tlingit women might go barefoot even in the winter, in part because they stayed closer to home than the men. Men going on on winter hunting trips in the snow would wear snowshoes. The Tlingits traded with the other tribes of the Pcific Northwest, especially the Haida and Tsimshians. Tlingit Chilkat blankets, were especially prized, The Tlingits wanted shells for jewelry and the sturdy canoes made by the Haidas. The Northwest Pacific tribe at times traded peacefully and at other times raided other villages to take what they wanted and capture slaves.


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Created: 9:52 PM 2/22/2013
Last updated: 9:52 PM 2/22/2013