Tuesday, October 25, 2011

American Indian Athapascan Family of Tribes and Language


The boundaries of the Athapascan family, as now understood, are best given under three primary groups—Northern, Pacific, and Southern.
53Northern group.—This includes all the Athapascan tribes of British North America and Alaska. In the former region the Athapascans occupy most of the western interior, being bounded on the north by the Arctic Eskimo, who inhabit a narrow strip of coast; on the east by the Eskimo of Hudson’s Bay as far south as Churchill River, south of which river the country is occupied by Algonquian tribes. On the south the Athapascan tribes extended to the main ridge between the Athapasca and Saskatchewan Rivers, where they met Algonquian tribes; west of this area they were bounded on the south by Salishan tribes, the limits of whose territory on Fraser River and its tributaries appear on Tolmie and Dawson’s map of 1884. On the west, in British Columbia, the Athapascan tribes nowhere reach the coast, being cut off by the Wakashan, Salishan, and Chimmesyan families.
The interior of Alaska is chiefly occupied by tribes of this family. Eskimo tribes have encroached somewhat upon the interior along the Yukon, Kuskokwim, Kowak, and Noatak Rivers, reaching on the Yukon to somewhat below Shageluk Island, and on the Kuskokwim nearly or quite to Kolmakoff Redoubt. Upon the two latter they reach quite to their heads. A few Kutchin tribes are (or have been) north of the Porcupine and Yukon Rivers, but until recently it has not been known that they extended north beyond the Yukon and Romanzoff Mountains. Explorations of Lieutenant Stoney, in 1885, establish the fact that the region to the north of those mountains is occupied by Athapascan tribes, and the map is colored accordingly. Only in two places in Alaska do the Athapascan tribes reach the coast—the K’naia-khotana, on Cook’s Inlet, and the Ahtena, of Copper River.
Pacific group.—Unlike the tribes of the Northern group, most of those of the Pacific group have removed from their priscan habitats since the advent of the white race. The Pacific group embraces the following: Kwalhioqua, formerly on Willopah River, Washington, near the Lower Chinook;Owilapsh, formerly between Shoalwater Bay and the heads of the Chehalis River, Washington, the territory of these two tribes being practically continuous; Tlatscanai, formerly on a small stream on the northwest side of Wapatoo Island. Gibbs was informed by an old Indian that this tribe “formerly owned the prairies on the Tsihalis at the mouth of the Skukumchuck, but, on the failure of game, left the country, crossed the Columbia River, and occupied the mountains to the 54south”—a statement of too uncertain character to be depended upon; the Athapascan tribes now on the Grande Ronde and Siletz Reservations, Oregon, whose villages on and near the coast extended from Coquille River southward to the California line, including, among others, the Upper Coquille, Sixes, Euchre, Creek, Joshua, Tutu tûnnĕ, and other “Rogue River” or “Tou-touten bands,” Chasta Costa, Galice Creek, Naltunne tûnnĕ and Chetco villages;the Athapascan villages formerly on Smith River and tributaries, California;those villages extending southward from Smith River along the California coast to the mouth of Klamath River; the Hupâ villages or “clans” formerly on Lower Trinity River, California; the Kenesti or Wailakki (2), located as follows: “They live along the western slope of the Shasta Mountains, from North Eel River, above Round Valley, to Hay Fork; along Eel and Mad Rivers, extending down the latter about to Low Gap; also on Dobbins and Larrabie Creeks;” and Saiaz, who “formerly occupied the tongue of land jutting down between Eel River and Van Dusen’s Fork.”

Southern group.—Includes the Navajo, Apache, and Lipan. Engineer José Cortez, one of the earliest authorities on these tribes, writing in 1799, defines the boundaries of the Lipan and Apache as extending north and south from 29° N. to 36° N., and east and west from 99° W. to 114° W.; in other words from central Texas nearly to the Colorado River in Arizona, where they met tribes of the Yuman stock. The Lipan occupied the eastern part of the above territory, extending in Texas from the Comanche country (about Red River) south to the Rio Grande.19 More recently both Lipan and Apache have gradually moved southward into Mexico where they extend as far as Durango.20
The Navajo, since first known to history, have occupied the country on and south of the San Juan River in northern New Mexico and Arizona and extending into Colorado and Utah. They were surrounded on all sides by the cognate Apache except upon the north, where they meet Shoshonean tribes.
A. Northern group:
Tahl-tan (1).
B. Pacific group:
Chasta Costa.
Dakube tede (on Applegate Creek).
Euchre Creek.
Kălts’erea tûnnĕ.
Kenesti or Wailakki.


Micikqwûtme tûnnĕ.
Mikono tûnnĕ.
Taltûctun tûde (on Galice Creek).
Tcêmê (Joshuas).
Tcĕtlĕstcan tûnnĕ.
Tutu tûnnĕ.
C. Southern group:
Pinal Coyotero.
Population.—The present number of the Athapascan family is about 32,899, of whom about 8,595, constituting the Northern group, are in Alaska and British North America, according to Dall, Dawson, and the Canadian Indian-Report for 1888; about 895, comprising the Pacific group, are in Washington, Oregon, and California; and about 23,409, belonging to the Southern group, are in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Indian Territory. Besides these are the Lipan and some refugee Apache, who are in Mexico. These have not been included in the above enumeration, as there are no means of ascertaining their number.