TRTFN

History of the Tlingit People

The Tlingit are an Indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest
Coast. Their name for themselves is Lingít, meaning “human beings”.
The Russian name Koloshi (oloschiiiii)—from an Alutiiq term for the
labret—or the related German name Koulischen may be encountered in older
historical literature, such as Shelikhov’s 1796 map of Russian America.
The Tlingit are a matrilineal society that developed a complex hunter-gatherer
culture in the temperate rainforest of the southeast Alaska coast and the
Alexander Archipelago. An inland subgroup, known as the Inland Tlingit, inhabits
the far northwestern part of the province of British Columbia and the
southern Yukon Territory in Canada.

CULTURE
The Tlingit culture is multifaceted and complex, a characteristic of Northwest
Pacific Coast peoples with access to easily exploited rich resources. In Tlingit
culture a heavy emphasis is placed upon family and kinship, and on a rich tradition
of oratory. Wealth and economic power are important indicators of status,
but so is generosity and proper behavior, all signs of “good breeding” and
ties to aristocracy. Art and spirituality are incorporated in nearly all areas of
Tlingit culture, with even everyday objects such as spoons and storage boxes
decorated and imbued with spiritual power and historical beliefs of the Tlingits.
Tlingit society is divided into two moieties, the Raven and the Eagle.
These in turn are divided into numerous clans that are subdivided into lineages
or house groups. These groups have heraldic crests, that are displayed on totem
poles, canoes, feast dishes, house posts, weavings, jewelry, and other art
forms.

PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION
Tlingit thought and belief, although never formally codified, was historically
a fairly well organized philosophical and religious system whose basic
axioms shaped the way Tlingit people viewed and interacted with the world
around them. Tlingits were traditionally animists, and hunters ritually purified
themselves before hunting animals.
Shamans, primarily men, cured diseases, influenced weather, aided in hunting,
predicted the future, and protected people against witchcraft.
Between 1886 and 1895, in the face of their shamans’ inability to treat Old
World diseases including smallpox, many Tlingit people converted to Orthodox
Christianity. Russian Orthodox missionaries had translated their liturgy
into the Tlingit language. It has been argued that they saw Eastern Orthodox
Christianity as a way of resisting assimilation to the “American way of
life,” which was associated with Presbyterianism.

After the introduction of Christianity, the Tlingit belief system
began to erode. Today, some young Tlingits look back towards their traditional tribal religions and worldview for inspiration, security, and a sense of identity. While many elders
converted to Christianity, contemporary Tlingit “reconcile Christianity
and the ‘traditional culture.’”

LANGUAGE
The Tlingit language (Lingít) is spoken by the Tlingit people of Southeast Alaska
and Western Canada. It is a branch of the Na-Dené language family. It is
well known not only for its complex grammar and sound system, but also
for using certain phonemes unheard in almost any other language.
Tlingit is highly endangered, with an estimated 200-400 native speakers
in the United States and 100 speakers in Canada. The speakers are bilingual
or near-bilingual in English. Extensive effort is being put into revitalization
programs in Southeast Alaska to revive and preserve the Tlingit language and
its culture. Sealaska Heritage Institute and the University of Alaska, Southeast
both have Tlingit language programs, and community classes are held in
Klukwan and Angoon.

People have continuously occupied Tlingit territory for thousands of years.
Tlingit culture is thought to have originate around 800 years ago near the
mouths of the Skeena and Nass Rivers. Their first contact with Europeans
came in 1741 with Russian explorers, who were followed by Spanish explorers
in 1775. Tlingits maintained their independence but suffered from smallpox
and other diseases brought by the Europeans.

FOOD
Food is a central part of Tlingit culture, and the land is an abundant provider.
Most of the richness of intertidal life found on the beaches of Southeast
Alaska can be harvested for food. Though eating off the beach could provide
a fairly healthy and varied diet, eating nothing but “beach food” is considered
contemptible among the Tlingit and a sign of poverty. Indeed, shamans
and their families were required to abstain from all food gathered from
the beach, and men might avoid eating beach food before battles or strenuous
activities in the belief that it would weaken them spiritually and perhaps
physically as well. Thus for both spiritual reasons as well as to add some
variety to the diet, the Tlingit harvest many other resources for food besides
those they easily find outside their front doors. No other food resource receives
as much emphasis as salmon; however, seal and game are both close seconds.
Halibut, shellfish, and seaweed traditionally provided food in the spring,
while late spring and summer bring seal, salmon. Summer is a time for
gathering wild berries, such as salmonberry, soap berry, and currants. In fall,
sea otters are hunted. Herring and eulachon are also important staples, that
can be eaten fresh or dried and stored for later use. Fish provide meat, oil, and
eggs. Sea mammals, such as sea lions and sea otters, are used for food and
clothing materials. In the forests near their homes, Tlingit hunted deer, bear,
mountain goats and other small mammals.

HISTORY OF THE TLINGIT PEOPLE
The Tlingit are an Indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Their name for themselves is Lingít, meaning “human beings” (pronounced
ɬɪnkɪt). The Russian name Koloshi (Колоши) (from an Alutiiq term for the labret) or the related German name Koulischen may be encountered in older
historical literature, such as Shelikhov’s 1796 map of Russian America.
The Tlingit are a matrilineal society that developed a complex hunter-gatherer culture in the temperate rainforest of the southeast Alaska coast and
the Alexander Archipelago. An inland subgroup, known as the Inland Tlingit, inhabits the far northwestern part of the province of British Columbia
and the southern Yukon Territory in Canada.
The Tlingit culture is multifaceted and complex, a characteristic
of Northwest Pacific Coast peoples with access to easily exploited
rich resources. In Tlingit culture a heavy emphasis is placed upon
family and kinship, and on a rich tradition of oratory. Wealth and
economic power are important indicators of status, but so is generosity
and proper behavior, all signs of “good breeding” and ties
to aristocracy. Art and spirituality are incorporated in nearly all
areas of Tlingit culture, with even everyday objects such as spoons
and storage boxes decorated and imbued with spiritual power and
historical beliefs of the Tlingits.
Tlingit society is divided into two moieties, the Raven and the
Eagle. These in turn are divided into numerous clans that are subdivided
into lineages or house groups. These groups have heraldic
crests, that are displayed on totem poles, canoes, feast dishes,
house posts, weavings, jewelry, and other art forms.
Tlingit thought and belief, although never formally codified,
was historically a fairly well organized philosophical and religious
system whose basic axioms shaped the way Tlingit people viewed
and interacted with the world around them. Tlingits were traditionally
animists, and hunters ritually purified themselves before hunting animals. Shamans, primarily men, cured diseases, influenced weather, aided
in hunting, predicted the future, and protected people against witchcraft.
Between 1886 and 1895, in the face of their shamans’ inability to treat Old World diseases including smallpox, many Tlingit people converted to
Orthodox Christianity. Russian Orthodox missionaries had translated their liturgy into the Tlingit language. It has been argued that they saw Eastern
Orthodox Christianity as a way of resisting assimilation to the “American way of life,” which was associated with Presbyterianism. After the introduction
of Christianity, the Tlingit belief system began to erode.
Today, some young Tlingits look back towards their traditional
tribal religions and worldview for inspiration, security, and a sense
of identity. While many elders converted to Christianity, contemporary
Tlingit “reconcile Christianity and the ‘traditional culture.’”
The Tlingit language (Lingít [ɬɪŋkɪt́ ]) is spoken by the Tlingit people
of Southeast Alaska and Western Canada. It is a branch of the
Na-Dené language family. It is well known not only for its complex
grammar and sound system, but also for using certain phonemes
unheard in almost any other language.
Tlingit is highly endangered, with an estimated 200-400 native
speakers in the United States and 100 speakers in Canada. The
speakers are bilingual or near-bilingual in English. Extensive effort is
being put into revitalization programs in Southeast Alaska to revive
and preserve the Tlingit language and its culture. Sealaska Heritage
Institute and the University of Alaska, Southeast both have Tlingit
language programs, and community classes are held in Klukwan
and Angoon.
People have continuously occupied Tlingit territory for thousands
of years. Tlingit culture is thought to have originate around
800 years ago near the mouths of the Skeena and Nass Rivers. Their
first contact with Europeans came in 1741 with Russian explorers,
who were followed by Spanish explorers in 1775. Tlingits maintained
their independence but suffered from smallpox and other
diseases brought by the Europeans.
Food is a central part of Tlingit culture, and the land is an abundant provider. Most of the richness of intertidal life found on the beaches of Southeast
Alaska can be harvested for food. Though eating off the beach could provide a fairly healthy and varied diet, eating nothing but “beach food” is
considered contemptible among the Tlingit and a sign of poverty. Indeed, shamans and their families were required to abstain from all food gathered
from the beach, and men might avoid eating beach food before battles or strenuous activities in the belief that it would weaken them spiritually and
perhaps physically as well. Thus for both spiritual reasons as well as to add some variety to the diet, the Tlingit harvest many other resources for food
besides those they easily find outside their front doors. No other food resource receives as much emphasis as salmon; however, seal and game are
both close seconds.
Halibut, shellfish, and seaweed traditionally provided food in the spring, while late spring and summer bring seal, salmon. Summer is a time for
gathering wild berries, such as salmonberry, soap berry, and currants. In fall, sea otters are hunted. Herring and eulachon are also important staples,
that can be eaten fresh or dried and stored for later use. Fish provide meat, oil, and eggs. Sea mammals, such as sea lions and sea otters, are used for
food and clothing materials. In the forests near their homes, Tlingit hunted deer, bear, mountain goats and other small mammals.
HISTORY OF THE TLINGIT PEOPLE
The Tlingit are an Indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Their name for themselves is Lingít, meaning “human beings” (pronounced
ɬɪnkɪt). The Russian name Koloshi (Колоши) (from an Alutiiq term for the labret) or the related German name Koulischen may be encountered in older
historical literature, such as Shelikhov’s 1796 map of Russian America.
The Tlingit are a matrilineal society that developed a complex hunter-gatherer culture in the temperate rainforest of the southeast Alaska coast and
the Alexander Archipelago. An inland subgroup, known as the Inland Tlingit, inhabits the far northwestern part of the province of British Columbia
and the southern Yukon Territory in Canada.
The Tlingit culture is multifaceted and complex, a characteristic
of Northwest Pacific Coast peoples with access to easily exploited
rich resources. In Tlingit culture a heavy emphasis is placed upon
family and kinship, and on a rich tradition of oratory. Wealth and
economic power are important indicators of status, but so is generosity
and proper behavior, all signs of “good breeding” and ties
to aristocracy. Art and spirituality are incorporated in nearly all
areas of Tlingit culture, with even everyday objects such as spoons
and storage boxes decorated and imbued with spiritual power and
historical beliefs of the Tlingits.
Tlingit society is divided into two moieties, the Raven and the
Eagle. These in turn are divided into numerous clans that are subdivided
into lineages or house groups. These groups have heraldic
crests, that are displayed on totem poles, canoes, feast dishes,
house posts, weavings, jewelry, and other art forms.
Tlingit thought and belief, although never formally codified,
was historically a fairly well organized philosophical and religious
system whose basic axioms shaped the way Tlingit people viewed
and interacted with the world around them. Tlingits were traditionally
animists, and hunters ritually purified themselves before hunting animals. Shamans, primarily men, cured diseases, influenced weather, aided
in hunting, predicted the future, and protected people against witchcraft.
Between 1886 and 1895, in the face of their shamans’ inability to treat Old World diseases including smallpox, many Tlingit people converted to
Orthodox Christianity. Russian Orthodox missionaries had translated their liturgy into the Tlingit language. It has been argued that they saw Eastern
Orthodox Christianity as a way of resisting assimilation to the “American way of life,” which was associated with Presbyterianism. After the introduction
of Christianity, the Tlingit belief system began to erode.
Today, some young Tlingits look back towards their traditional
tribal religions and worldview for inspiration, security, and a sense
of identity. While many elders converted to Christianity, contemporary
Tlingit “reconcile Christianity and the ‘traditional culture.’”
The Tlingit language (Lingít [ɬɪŋkɪt́ ]) is spoken by the Tlingit people
of Southeast Alaska and Western Canada. It is a branch of the
Na-Dené language family. It is well known not only for its complex
grammar and sound system, but also for using certain phonemes
unheard in almost any other language.
Tlingit is highly endangered, with an estimated 200-400 native
speakers in the United States and 100 speakers in Canada. The
speakers are bilingual or near-bilingual in English. Extensive effort is
being put into revitalization programs in Southeast Alaska to revive
and preserve the Tlingit language and its culture. Sealaska Heritage
Institute and the University of Alaska, Southeast both have Tlingit
language programs, and community classes are held in Klukwan
and Angoon.
People have continuously occupied Tlingit territory for thousands
of years. Tlingit culture is thought to have

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>