TRIBAL CULTURAL & LANGUAGE GROUPINGS

"Indians have been cursed above all other people in history. Indians have anthropologists." (Vine Deloria, Jr., from Custer Died for Your Sins)

  MAIN LANGUAGE GROUPS

There are approximately 600 registered Native bands in Canada. Approximately 500 in the United States

ALGONKIAN - Abenaki, Blackfoot, Cheyenne,  Cree-Montagnais, Menomenee, Ojibwa (Southern Ontario-Saskatchewan), Mi'kmaq and Maliseet, Passamaquoddy (Maritimes), Plains such as Blackfoot (Alberta), Ottawa (north shore of Georgian Bay, Bruce Peninsula and Manitoulin Island) and Potawatomi (lower Lake Michigan). Ojibwa, Ottawa and Algonkian have been classified as a single language with numerous dialects, Shawnee and Miami-Illinois.

Also, Lenape/Delaware - Lenape means "The People" or "Original People."  In Canada, currently located in southwestern Ontario.

ATHABASKAN - Northern Athapaskan is spoken from interior Alaska to Hudson Bay. There are also some speakers in the Plateau and Plains. Athapaskan languages include: Babine-Witsuwit'en, Navajo, Apache, Kutchin, Hare, Dogrib, Han, Tutchone, Chipewyan, Slavey, Beaver, Kaska, Sekani, Tahitan, Carrier, Chilcotin, Sarcee, Dene Suline, Labrador Inuit Pidgin French, Coast Guich'in.

CREE: Single language with different dialects: Plains Cree (plains and western woodlands); Woods Cree (woodlands of central Saskatchewan and Manitoba); West and East Swampy Cree (lowlands to the west of Hudson and James Bay); Moose Cree (south of James Bay); East Cree (subarctic Quebec east of James Bay); Attikamek or Tete de Boule (upper Saint-Maurice River region of Quebec); Naskapi and Montagnais (eastern Quebec and Labrador*)

*Although Naskapi and Montagnais (better known as Innu (means ‘person’) languages have been classed as Cree, they maintain a distinct and separate identity.

HAUDENOSAUNEE (IROQUOIAN): Languages such as Huron and Neutral are now extinct.  All languages spoken are from the Six Nations that make up the Haudenosaunee League of Nations: Oneida, Mohawk, Cayuga, Onandaga, Seneca, Tuscarora).  Mohawk is the dominant language among Canadian Haudenosaunee.

INUKTITUT: Inuktitut is the single spoken language across the Canadian Arctic and Greenland. Also, Innu-aimun, Inuinnaqtun, Inupiaq, Inuvialuktun.

DAKOTA*: Consists of a single language, Dakota (Lakhota), spoken in the southern portions of the three prairie provinces (and the Plains of the United States).

**The commonly used word, SIOUX is, in fact an insult and comes from a French version of an Ojibwa word meaning ‘snakes’, or metaphorically, ‘enemies’. Dakota means (‘Allies’).

METIS:  Michif - Post-European contact hybrid language.  As is the Chinook Jargon Trading Language.

NA-DENE:  Tlingit

PLATEAU: Four Salish languages (see Salishan below); Kutenai; Plateau Athapaskan; Nichola (extinct); Chilcotin and Southern Carrier.

WAKASHAN: (Preferred description: Kwakwaka'wakw) in the central mainland of British Columbia. In the northern part there are the Haisla, Kwak'ala, Heiltsuk.

SALISHAN: Southern coastal British Columbia, both on mainland and eastern Vancouver Island. Also includes Nuxalt (Bella Coola), Comox, Sechelt, Saanich, Squamish, Halkomelem, Straits, Lilloet, Thompson, Shuswap, Nuu-cha-nulth (formerly known as Nootka - wrong!), Okanagan. 

TSIMSHIAN: Northern British Columbia. There are Coast and Southern Tsimshian languages (Sm'algyax). As wellm the Nisga'a and Gitksan peoples speak dialects of the Tsimshian language.  There is also another moreorless modern Tsimshian dialect called: Shim-al-gyak.

HAIDA: Occupy Haida G'Wai (Queen Charlotte Islands), British Columbia.

TLINGIT: Southeastern Alaska, off the northern coast of British Columbia, also the southern Yukon. 

KUTENAI: Almost extinct. Southeastern British Columbia

 

 

MAIN CULTURAL GROUPINGS

ATLANTIC PROVINCES  - Algonquin Family of Languages 
Mi'Kmaq, Maliseet, Ottawa, Beothuk (extinct), Passamaquoddy

HAUDENOSAUNEE - EASTERN WOODLANDS 
Petun and Neutral (Extinct), Huron (a small group still lives in Quebec), Mohawk, Cayuga, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca and Tuscarora (after 1760)

NOTE: The term "Iroquois" is discouraged because it is a hybrid insult that came out of an Algonquian word meaning 'rattlesnake'.  Haudenosaunne, on the other hand, means "people of the longhouse."

ALONGKIANS OF EASTERN WOODLANDS & SUBARCTIC 
Preferred Grouping name:  Anishinaabe (First Man)
Ojibwa (has a number of of other names: Salteaux (People of the Rapids-Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba and Lake of the Woods in Ontario), Chippewa (American Ojibwa along with those of southern Ontario); Algonkin; Cree;  Montagnais and Naskapi; Odawa; Nipissing, Ottawa, Potawatomi

 BLACKFOOT CONFEDERACY
also called: Niitsítapi (meaning "Original People")

The Blackfoot Confederacy consists of the North Peigan (Aapátohsipikáni), the South Peigan (Aamsskáápipikani), the Kainai Nation (Káínaa: "Blood"), and the Siksika Nations ("Blackfoot") or more correctly Siksikáwa ("Blackfoot people"). The South Peigan are located in Montana, and the other three are located in Alberta.  These groups shared a common language and culture, had treaties of mutual defense, and freely intermarried.

DELAWARE - LENAPE
Comprised of three principle tribes: Munsee, Unami, and Unalachtigo. These groups have shared cultural and linguistic characteristics.  Their ancestral territory ranges from:  New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, Lower Hudson Valley, Lower Hudson and Delaware Rivers and New York Harbour with. They also reside in southwestern Ontario in the London/Chatham area. Languages: Munsee and Unami.

PLAINS
Plains Cree, Blood, Northern Blackfoot, Lakhota,
Assiniboine, Plains Ojibwa (sometimes called Oji-Cree)

PLATEAU
Southern interior of British Columbia up to generally the forested environment of the Subarctic. Interior Salish, Kutenai, Chilcotin, plus a few bands from the southern Carrier, Nicola (extinct)

NORTHWEST COAST
(NORTHERN TRIBES)
 
Tsimshian, Tlingit, Nisga’a, Gitksan, Haida

WEST COAST
(CENTRAL TRIBES)
Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl), Haisla, Heiltsuk, 
 Nuu-chah-nulth (formerly Nootka), Xwe Nal Mewx, Makah, 
Quileute, Nuxalt, Coast Salish

WEST COAST
(SOUTHERN TRIBES INCLUDE:)
Homalco, Ktunaxa Kinbasket, Klahoose, Lilloet, Musgamagw, Musqueam, Nlaka'pamux,Tsawataineuk Okanagan, Sechelt, Shuswap, Sliammon, Squaumish, Stó:lo, Tsawwassen, Upper Nicola, Westbank

WESTERN SUBARCTIC 
Dene

 ARCTIC (NUNUVUT) 
Inuit

POST EUROPEAN CONTACT

METÍS

Mix race offspring of First Nations and fur traders/early European settlers of the North West Territories and the Prairies, and their descendants. Originally the term referred specifically to children born to Woodland Cree women, Ojibwa, Saulteaux sired by, at first French, and then English/Scottish fur traders. It has since been expanded to include unions between a person from any Native tribe and a non-Native person. The term continually undergoes debates to broaden the definition. Métis (means "mixed blood") do not have Indian status under the Indian Act but are recognized in the Constitution as a distinct group. 

Some Métis like those in Alberta have a form of self-government (Communities) with free title to their land. Many First Nations people considered Métis (prior to 1985), regained their right to be "Status" Natives as a result of Bill C31. 

In 1982, the Métis were included as a recognized Indigenous group in the amended Canadian Constitution - Section 35(2) - In this Act, "aboriginal peoples of Canada" includes the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.

 

 

 

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