Haida are a nation and ethnic group native to, or otherwise associated with, Haida Gwaii and the Haida language. Haida language, an isolate language, has been spoken across Haida Gwaii and certain islands on the Alaska Panhandle, where it has been spoken for at least 14,000 years. Prior to the 19th century, Haida would speak a number of coastal First Nations languages such as Lingít, Nisg̱a'a and Sm'álgyax. After settlers' arrival and colonisation of the Haida through residential schools, few Haida speak X̱aayda/X̱aad kíl, though there are many efforts to revive the language; the Haida national government, the Council of the Haida Nation, is based in the archipelago of Haida Gwaii in northern British Columbia, Canada. A group known as the Kaigani Haida live across the international border of the Dixon Entrance on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska, United States; the Kaigani Haida migrated there in the late 18th century. Haida have occupied Haida Gwaii since at least 14,000 BP. Pollen fossils and oral histories both confirm that Haida ancestors were present when the first tree, a Lodgepole pine, arrived at SG̱uuluu Jaads Saahlawaay, the westernmost of the Swan Islands located in Gwaii Haanas.
In British Columbia, the term "Haida Nation" can refer both to Haida people as a whole and their government, the Council of the Haida Nation. While all people of Haida ancestry are entitled to Haida citizenship, the Kaigani are part of the Central Council Tlingit Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska government; the Haida language has sometimes been classified as one of the Na-Dene group, but is considered to be an isolate. Haida society continues to produce a robust and stylized art form, a leading component of Northwest Coast art. While artists have expressed this in large wooden carvings, Chilkat weaving, or ornate jewellery, in the 21st century, younger people are making art in popular expression such as Haida manga. In June 2017, the first feature-length Haida-language film, The Edge of the Knife, was in production with an all-Haida cast; the actors learned some Haida for their performances in the film. Gwaii Edenshaw is the co-screenwriter. Traditional Haida territory spans the current international boundary between British Columbia and Alaska, United States.
Their heartland is the two large and many smaller islands known as Haida Gwaii, which means "island of the people" in Haida. This archipelago was surveyed in 1787 by Captain George Dixon of the British Navy, who named them after one of his ships, the Queen Charlotte, in turn named after Charlotte, queen consort of George III of the United Kingdom; the name "Queen Charlotte Islands" was subsequently "given back" to the Crown in a ceremony between the British Columbia government and the Council of the Haida Nation. Haida live in Southeast Alaska on the southern half of Prince of Wales Island in communities such as Hydaburg, in large cities elsewhere in the region such as Ketchikan. Haida live in various cities in mainland British Columbia and the western United States; the Haida are known for their craftsmanship, trading skills, seamanship. They are thought to practise slavery. Canadian Museum of Civilization anthropologist Diamond Jenness has compared the tribe to Vikings. Oral histories and archaeological evidence indicate that the Haida have occupied Haida Gwaii for more than 17,000 years.
In that time they have established an intimate connection with the islands' lands and oceans, established structured societies, constructed many villages. The Haida have occupied present-day southern Alaska for more than the last 200 years, the modern group having emigrated from Haida Gwaii in the 18th century; the Haida conducted regular trade with Russian, Spanish and American fur traders and whalers. According to sailing records, they diligently maintained strong trade relationships with Westerners, coastal people, among themselves. Like other groups on the Northwest Coast, the Haida defended themselves with fortifications, including palisades and platforms, they took to water in large ocean-going canoes, each created from a single Western red cedar tree, big enough to accommodate as many as 60 paddlers. The aggressive tribe were feared in sea battles, although they did respect rules of engagement in their conflicts; the Haida developed effective weapons for boat-based battle, including a special system of stone rings weighing 18 to 23 kg which could destroy an enemy's dugout canoe and be reused after the attacker pulled it back with the attached cedar bark rope.
The Haida took captives from defeated enemies. Between 1780 and 1830, the Haida turned their aggression towards American traders. Among the half-dozen ships the tribe captured were the Susan Sturgis; the tribe made use of the weapons they so acquired, using canoe-mounted swivel guns. In 1856, an expedition in search of a route across Vancouver Island was at the mouth of the Qualicum River when they observed a large fleet of Haida canoes approaching and hid in the forest, they observed these attackers holding human heads. When the explorers reached the mouth of the river, they came upon the charred remains of the village of the Qualicum people and the mutilated bodies of its inhabitants, with only one survivor, an elderly woman, hiding terrified inside a tree stump. In 1857, the USS Massachusetts was sent from Seattle to nearby Port Gamble, where indigenous raiding parties made up of Haida and
The Iñupiat are native Alaskan people, whose traditional territory spans Norton Sound on the Bering Sea to the Canada–United States border. Their current communities include seven Alaskan villages in the North Slope Borough, affiliated with the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. Iñupiat Inyupik, is the plural form of the name for the people and the name of their language; the singular form is Iñupiaq, which sometimes refers to the language. Iñupiak is the dual form; the roots are iñuk "person" and -piaq "real", i.e. an endonym meaning "real people". The Iñupiat people are made up of the following communities, To equitably manage natural resources, Iñupiat people belong to several of the Alaskan Native Regional Corporations; these are the following. Arctic Slope Regional Corporation Bering Straits Native Corporation NANA Regional Corporation. Inupiat now speak only two native languages: Northwest Alaskan Inupiat. Many more dialects of these languages flourished prior to contact with European cultures.
English is spoken by the Iñupiat because in Native American boarding schools, Iñupiaq children were punished for speaking their own languages. Several Inupiat people developed pictographic writing systems in the early twentieth century, it is known as Alaskan Picture Writing. The University of Alaska Fairbanks offers an online course called Beginning Inupiaq Eskimo, an introductory course to the Inupiaq language open to both speakers and non-speakers of Inupiaq. Along with other Inuit groups, the Iñupiaq originate from the Thule culture. Circa 1000 B. C. the Thule migrated from islands in the Bering Sea to. Iñupiaq groups, in common with Inuit-speaking groups have a name ending in "miut," which means'a people of'. One example is a generic term for inland Iñupiaq caribou hunters. During a period of starvation and an influenza epidemic most of these people moved to the coast or other parts of Alaska between 1890 and 1910. A number of Nunamiut returned to the mountains in the 1930s. By 1950, most Nunamiut groups, such as the Killikmiut, had coalesced in Anaktuvuk Pass, a village in north-central Alaska.
Some of the Nunamiut remained nomadic until the 1950s. The Iditarod Trail's antecedents were the native trails of the Dena'ina and Deg Hit'an Athabaskan Indians and the Inupiaq Eskimos. Iñupiat people are hunter-gatherers. Iñupiat people continue to rely on subsistence hunting and fishing. Depending on their location, they harvest walrus, whale, polar bears and fish. Both the inland and coastal Iñupiat depend on fish. Throughout the seasons when they are available food staples include ducks, rabbits, berries and shoots; the inland Iñupiat hunt caribou, dall sheep, grizzly bear, moose. The coastal Iñupiat hunt walrus, beluga whales, bowhead whales. Cautiously, polar bear is hunted; the capture of a whale benefits each member of an Iñupiat community, as the animal is butchered and its meat and blubber are allocated according to a traditional formula. City-dwelling relatives, thousands of miles away, are entitled to a share of each whale killed by the hunters of their ancestral village. Maktak, the skin and blubber of Bowhead and other whales, is rich in vitamins A and C.
The Vitamin C content of meats is destroyed by cooking, so consumption of raw meats and these vitamin-rich foods contributes to good health in a population with limited access to fruits and vegetables. Since the 1970s, oil and other resources have been an important revenue source for the Iñupiat; the Alaska Pipeline connects the Prudhoe Bay wells with the port of Valdez in south-central Alaska. Because of the oil drilling in Alaska’s arid north, the traditional way of whaling is coming into conflict with one of the modern world’s most pressing demands: finding more oil; the Inupiat eat Ribes triste raw or cooked, mix them with other berries which are used to make a traditional dessert. They mix the berries with rosehips and highbush cranberries and boil them into a syrup. Traditionally, different Iñupiat people lived in sedentary communities; some villages in the area have been occupied by other indigenous groups for more than 10,000 years. The Nalukataq is a spring whaling festival among Iñupiat.
There is one Iñupiat culture-oriented institute of higher education, Iḷisaġvik College, located in Utqiagvik. Iñupiat people have grown more concerned in recent years that climate change is threatening their traditional lifestyle; the warming trend in the Arctic affects their lifestyle in numerous ways, for example: thinning sea ice makes it more difficult to harvest bowhead whales, seals and other traditional foods. The Inuit Circumpolar Council, a group representing indigenous peoples of the Arctic, has made the case that climate change represents a threat to their human rights; as of the 2000 U. S. Census, the Iñupiat population in the United States numbered more than 19,000. Most of them live in Alaska. North Slope Borough: Anaktuvuk Pass, Utqiagvik, Nuiqsut, Point Hope, Point Lay, Wainwright Northwest Arctic Borough: Ambler, Deering, Kian
The Tlingit are indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. Their language is the Tlingit language, in which the name means "People of the Tides"; the Russian name Koloshi or the related German name Koulischen may be encountered referring to the people in older historical literature, such as Shelikhov's 1796 map of Russian America. The Tlingit have a matrilineal kinship system, with children considered born into the mother's clan, property and hereditary roles passing through the mother's line, their culture and society developed in the temperate rainforest of the southeast Alaska coast and the Alexander Archipelago. The Tlingit maintained a complex hunter-gatherer culture based on semi-sedentary management of fisheries. An inland group, known as the Inland Tlingit, inhabits the far northwestern part of the province of British Columbia and the southern Yukon Territory in Canada; the greatest territory occupied by the Tlingit extended from the Portland Canal along the present border between Alaska and British Columbia, north to the coast just southeast of the Copper River delta in Alaska.
The Tlingit occupied all of the Alexander Archipelago, except the southernmost end of Prince of Wales Island and its surroundings, where the Kaigani Haida moved just before the first encounters with European explorers. The Coastal Tlingit tribes controlled. Inland, the Tlingit occupied areas along the major rivers that pierce the Coast Mountains and Saint Elias Mountains and flow into the Pacific, including the Alsek, Chilkat and Stikine rivers. With regular travel up these rivers, the Tlingit developed extensive trade networks with Athabascan tribes of the interior, intermarried with them. From this regular travel and trade, a few large populations of Tlingit settled around Atlin and Tagish Lakes, whose headwaters flow from areas near the headwaters of the Taku River. Delineating the modern territory of the Tlingit is complicated because they are spread across the border between the United States and Canada, they lack designated reservations, other complex legal and political concerns make the situation confusing, there is a high level of mobility among the population.
They overlap in territory with various Athabascan peoples, such as the Tahltan and Tagish. In Canada, the modern communities of Atlin, British Columbia, Teslin and Carcross, Yukon have reserves and are the representative Interior Tlingit populations; the territory occupied by the modern Tlingit people in Alaska is not restricted to particular reservations, unlike most tribes in the lower contiguous 48 states. This is the result of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, which established regional corporations throughout Alaska with complex portfolios of land ownership rather than bounded reservations administered by tribal governments; the corporation in the Tlingit region is Sealaska Corporation, which serves the Tlingit as well as the Haida and Tsimshian in Alaska. Tlingit people as a whole participate in the commercial economy of Alaska; as a consequence, they live in American nuclear family households with private ownership of housing and land. Many possess land allotments from Sealaska or from earlier distributions predating ANCSA.
Despite the legal and political complexities, the territory occupied by the Tlingit can be reasonably designated as their modern homeland. Tlingit people today consider the land from around Yakutat south through the Alaskan Panhandle, including the lakes in the Canadian interior, as being Lingít Aaní, the Land of the Tlingit; the extant Tlingit territory can be divided into four major sections, paralleling ecological and cultural divisions: The Southern Tlingit occupy the region south of Frederick Sound, live in the northernmost reaches of the Western Red cedar forest. Northern Tinglit live north of Frederick Sound to Cape Spencer, including Glacier Bay and the Lynn Canal; the Inland Tlingit live along large interior lakes and the drainage of the Taku River as well as in the southern Yukon, subsist in a manner similar to their Athabascan neighbors in the mixed spruce taiga. The Gulf Coast Tlingit live along a narrow strip of coastline backed by steep mountains and extensive glaciers, north of Cape Spencer, along the coast of the Gulf of Alaska to Controller Bay and Kayak Island.
Their territory can be battered by Pacific storms. The trade and cultural interactions between each of these Tlingit groups and their disparate neighbors, the differences in food harvest practices, dialectical differences in language contribute to these identifications; these academic classifications are supported by similar self-identification among the Tlingit. The Tlingit culture is multifaceted and complex, a characteristic of Northwest Pacific Coast people with access to exploited rich resources. In Tlingit culture a heavy emphasis is placed upon family and kinship, on a rich tradition of oratory. Wealth and economic power are important indicators of rank, 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
Chefornak is a city in Bethel Census Area, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 418, up from 394 in 2000. Chefornak is located at 60°9′33″N 164°16′10″W on the south bank of the Kinia River 16 miles upriver from its mouth in Etolin Strait, an arm of the Bering Sea, it is within the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.4 square miles, of which 5.7 square miles is land and 0.66 square miles, or 10.56%, is water. Located in a region where the arctic tundra meets and interacts with the Bering Sea, as well as being in a region impacted by past volcanism, Chefornak has many interesting local landmarks. An extinct volcano, Tern Mountain, is visible in the distance to the south. Large, igneous rocks are a common sight in the village and the surrounding tundra; the Kinia River and its many tributaries are important to the people of the village, because of water travel to hunting and fishing areas, as well as because of difficulties presented by flooding and erosion.
Chefornak first appeared on the 1950 U. S. Census as an unincorporated village, it formally incorporated in 1974. As of the census of 2000, there were 394 people, 75 households, 63 families residing in the city; the population density was 68.8 people per square mile. There were 82 housing units at an average density of 14.3 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 93.40% Alaska Native, 2.03% White, 4.57% from two or more races. There were 75 households out of which 60.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.3% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 16.0% were non-families. 14.7% of all households were made up of individuals and none had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 5.25 and the average family size was 5.98. In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 45.2% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 23.9% from 25 to 44, 16.5% from 45 to 64, 4.6% who were 65 years of age or older.
The median age was 21 years. For every 100 females, there were 106.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 113.9 males. The median income for a household in the city was $35,556, the median income for a family was $36,042. Males had a median income of $15,000 versus $20,833 for females; the per capita income for the city was $8,474. About 21.3% of families and 25.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 36.0% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over. Yup'ik dancing is popular in the village; the high school has an Yup'ik Dance Team which visits other villages for feasts and festivals. The village hosts a dance festival in the Spring, the large Camai-i festival in Bethel attracts many from Chefornak and the surrounding villages to display their dances and to see the dances of other regions. Many of the villagers live a subsistence lifestyle, which means that they continue to carry out the traditional hunter-gatherer activities of their ancestors.
One of the foods that they rely on is fish such as halibut and herring, which are dried and eaten like jerky. Berries such as salmonberries, black berries, blueberries are gathered and used to prepare akutaq. Other native foods that are gathered include mousefood, Labrador tea, greens such as sourdock. Beside houses, there are only a handful of buildings in the village: Chefarnrmute, Inc. the village corporation Avugiak's Store The post office The town hall/bingo hall The school The Old School St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church The power plant The Chaputnguak School & Amaqigciq School is operated by the Lower Kuskokwim School District. "Chaputnguak," an old name for Chefornak, is a Yup'ik word referring to an object or thing obstructing a pathway. "Chaputnguak," an old name for Chefornak, is a Yup'ik word referring to an object or thing obstructing a pathway, while the latter is named after the first inhabitant of Chefornak, Alexie Amaqigciq. He was the Yup ` ik elder. Chaputnguak School is the primary school and Amaqigciq School is the secondary school.
Transportation into the village of Chefornak occurs by small aircraft, although in the winter the village can be reached by snow machine as well. Goods and mail are brought into the village by plane, during the summer months are brought up the Kinia River by barge. Chefornak's airport has been moved further from the village due to concerns with its proximity to the school; the new airstrip is now in operation. Within the village, transportation options include four-wheel, snow machine, on foot. Chaputnguak School Alaska Community Database
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans known as American Indians, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, except Hawaii. There are over 500 federally recognized tribes within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations; the term "American Indian" excludes Native Hawaiians and some Alaska Natives, while Native Americans are American Indians, plus Alaska Natives of all ethnicities. Native Hawaiians are not counted as Native Americans by the US Census, instead being included in the Census grouping of "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander"; the ancestors of modern Native Americans arrived in what is now the United States at least 15,000 years ago much earlier, from Asia via Beringia. A vast variety of peoples and cultures subsequently developed. Native Americans were affected by the European colonization of the Americas, which began in 1492, their population declined precipitously due to introduced diseases as well as warfare, territorial confiscation and slavery.
After the founding of the United States, many Native American peoples were subjected to warfare and one-sided treaties, they continued to suffer from discriminatory government policies into the 20th century. Since the 1960s, Native American self-determination movements have resulted in changes to the lives of Native Americans, though there are still many contemporary issues faced by Native Americans. Today, there are over five million Native Americans in the United States, 78% of whom live outside reservations; when the United States was created, established Native American tribes were considered semi-independent nations, as they lived in communities separate from British settlers. The federal government signed treaties at a government-to-government level until the Indian Appropriations Act of 1871 ended recognition of independent native nations, started treating them as "domestic dependent nations" subject to federal law; this law did preserve the rights and privileges agreed to under the treaties, including a large degree of tribal sovereignty.
For this reason, many Native American reservations are still independent of state law and actions of tribal citizens on these reservations are subject only to tribal courts and federal law. The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 granted U. S. citizenship to all Native Americans born in the United States. This emptied the "Indians not taxed" category established by the United States Constitution, allowed natives to vote in state and federal elections, extended the Fourteenth Amendment protections granted to people "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States. However, some states continued to deny Native Americans voting rights for several decades. Bill of Rights protections do not apply to tribal governments, except for those mandated by the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968. Since the end of the 15th century, the migration of Europeans to the Americas has led to centuries of population and agricultural transfer and adjustment between Old and New World societies, a process known as the Columbian exchange.
As most Native American groups had preserved their histories by oral traditions and artwork, the first written sources of the conflict were written by Europeans. Ethnographers classify the indigenous peoples of North America into ten geographical regions with shared cultural traits, called cultural areas; some scholars combine the Plateau and Great Basin regions into the Intermontane West, some separate Prairie peoples from Great Plains peoples, while some separate Great Lakes tribes from the Northeastern Woodlands. The ten cultural areas are as follows: Arctic, including Aleut and Yupik peoples Subarctic Northeastern Woodlands Southeastern Woodlands Great Plains Great Basin Northwest Plateau Northwest Coast California Southwest At the time of the first contact, the indigenous cultures were quite different from those of the proto-industrial and Christian immigrants; some Northeastern and Southwestern cultures, in particular, were matrilineal and operated on a more collective basis than that with which Europeans were familiar.
The majority of Indigenous American tribes maintained their hunting grounds and agricultural lands for use of the entire tribe. Europeans at that time had patriarchal cultures and had developed concepts of individual property rights with respect to land that were different; the differences in cultures between the established Native Americans and immigrant Europeans, as well as shifting alliances among different nations in times of war, caused extensive political tension, ethnic violence, social disruption. Before the European settlement of what is now the United States, Native Americans suffered high fatalities from contact with new European diseases, to which they had not yet acquired immunity. Smallpox epidemics are thought to have caused the greatest loss of life for indigenous populations. William M Denevan, noted author and Professor Emeritus of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said on this subject in his essay "The Pristine Myth: The Landscape of the Americas in 1492".
Old World diseases were the primary killer. In many regions the tropical lowlands, populations fell by 90 percent or more in the first century after the contact. "Estimates of the pre-Columbian population of what today constitutes the U. S. vary ranging from William M Denevan's 3.8 million in his 1992 w
Arctic Village, Alaska
Arctic Village is an unincorporated Native American village and a census-designated place in Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the CDP was 152; this was unchanged from 2000. The village is located in the large Gwitch'in speaking region of Alaska, the local dialect is known as Di'haii Gwitch'in or Kutchin; as of 1999, over 95 % of the community understands the language. Evidence from archaeological investigations indicate that the Arctic Village area may have been settled as early as 4500 BC. Around 500 AD the Athabascan speaking Gwich'in people came into the area with seasonal hunting and fishing camps. About 1900, the village became a permanent settlement. Arctic Village is located at 68°7′19″N 145°31′40″W, on the east fork of the Chandalar River, about a hundred miles north of Fort Yukon; the area consists of flat floodlands near the river, but is wooded hills. Both the CDP and the "village" have the same total area, 69.9 square miles, of which, 61.71 square miles is land and 8.12 square miles is water.
Arctic Village reported as Arctic from 1910-1960 and formally as Arctic Village since 1970. Curiously, in 1910 and 1930 and in 2000 and 2010 it reported the same population; as of the census of 2000, there were 152 people, 52 households, 30 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 2.5 people per square mile. There were 67 housing units at an average density of 1.1/sq mi. The racial makeup of the CDP was 7.89% White, 86.18% Native American, 5.92% from two or more races. 0.66% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. There were 52 households out of which 44.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 25.0% were married couples living together, 21.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 40.4% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.8% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.92 and the average family size was 3.58. In the CDP, the population was spread out with 41.4% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 17.8% from 45 to 64, 2.0% who were 65 years of age or older.
The median age was 24 years. For every 100 females, there were 114.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 128.2 males. The median income for a household in the CDP was $20,250, the median income for a family was $19,000. Males had a median income of $21,875 versus $10,000 for females; the per capita income for the CDP was $10,761. About 30.8% of families and 46.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 53.1% of those under the age of eighteen and none of those sixty five or over. Yukon Flats School District operates the Arctic Village School. J. C. Hutchins' 7th Son, Book 2, Deceit features Arctic Village as a location containing a clue concerning the antagonist's plans. Erin Hunter's book Seekers: The Last Wilderness features Arctic Village as a setting in the book; this is where Ujurak is healed by a native and is captured by a senator. Media related to Arctic Village, Alaska at Wikimedia Commons Arctic Village at the Community Database Online from the Alaska Division of Community and Regional Affairs Chandalar River Valley Mountain, north of Arctic Village
The Tsimshian are an indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Their communities are in coastal British Columbia and far southern Alaska, around Terrace and Prince Rupert in British Columbia, Alaska's Annette Islands; the Tsimshian people consist of 10,000 members of seven First Nations. The Tsimshian are one of the largest First Nations peoples in northwest British Columbia; some Tsimshian migrated to Annette Island, where their descendants in the Metlakatla Indian Community number about 1450. Similar to numerous Native American peoples, the Tsimshian have a matrilineal kinship system, with a societal structure based on a clan system, properly referred to as a moiety. Descent and property are figured through the maternal line. Early anthropologists and linguists had classified the Gitksan and Nishga as Tsimshian because of apparent linguistic affinities; the three were all referred to as "Coast Tsimshian," though some communities were not coastal. These three groups, identify as separate nations.
Tsimshian translates to "Inside the Skeena River." At one time the Tsimshian lived on the upper reaches of the Skeena River near present-day Hazelton, British Columbia. The majority of Tsimshian still live in the lower Skeena River watershed near Kitimat, as well as northern coastal BC. There are distinct groups of Tsimshian native peoples: the Nishga, the Gitksan, the Coast Tsimshian, the Southern Tsimshian; the southern Tsimshian language had more prestige than the others and was used ceremonially by the Nishga and the Gitksan. According to southern Tsimshian lore, after a series of disasters befell the people, a chief led a migration away from the cursed land to the coast, where they founded Kitkatla Village, the first of three Southern Tsimshian villages. Kitkatla is still considered to be the most conservative of the Tsimshian villages; the Nishga and Gitksan remained in the upper Skeena region near the Nass River and forks of the Skeena but other Tsimshian chiefs moved down the river and occupied all the lands of the lower Skeena valley.
Over time, these groups developed a new dialect of their ancestral language and came to regard themselves as a distinct population, the Tsimshian-proper. They continued to share the rights and customs of those who are known as the Gitxsan, their kin on the upper Skeena. In late prehistoric times, the Coastal Tsimshian moved their winter villages out to the islands of Venn, they returned to their summer villages along the lower Skeena River. Archaeological evidence shows 5,000 years of continuous inhabitation in the Prince Rupert region. Kitkatla was the first Tsimshian village contacted by Europeans when Captain Charles Duncan and James Colnett arrived in 1787. Although Captain George Vancouver sailed up the Portland Canal into Nishga territory in 1793, the Gitksan were not subject to settlement pressure until the confluence of the Skeena and Bulkley Rivers the site of the Tsimshian village of Kitanmaks, became the new European settlement of Skeena Forks; when the Hudson's Bay Company moved their fort to modern-day Port Simpson in 1834, nine Tsimshian villages moved to the surrounding area.
Many of the Tsimshian peoples in Canada still live in these regions. Throughout the second half of the 19th century, epidemics of infectious disease contracted from Europeans ravaged their communities, as the First Nations had no acquired immunity to these diseases. In 1862 a smallpox epidemic killed many of the Tsimshian people. Altogether, one in four Tsimshian died in a series of at least three large-scale outbreaks. In 1835, the total population of the Tsimshian peoples was estimated at 8,500. By 1885, the population had dropped to 4,500. In the 1880s the Anglican missionary William Duncan, along with a group of the Tsimshian, left Metlakatla, British Columbia and requested settlement on Annette Island from the U. S. government. After gaining approval, the group founded New Metlakatla on Annette Island in southern Alaska. Duncan appealed to Congress to grant the community reservation status, which it did in the late 19th century. In 1895, the BC Tsimshian population stood at 3,550, while the Alaska Tsimshian population had dropped to 465 by 1900.
After this low-water point, the Tsimshian population began to grow again to reach modern numbers comparable to the 1835 population estimate. However, the numbers of the inland Tsimshian peoples are now higher than they were while those of the Southern and Coastal Tsimshian are much lower. In the 1970s, the Metlakatla Indian Community voted to retain their rights to land and water, opted out of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act; the residents of Arctic Village and Venetie accepted free and simple title to the land within the Venetie reservation boundaries, while all other tribes participated in ANCSA. The Metlakatla Tsimshian maintained their reservation status and holdings exclusive of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, they do not have an associated Native Corporation, although Tsimshian in Alaska may be shareholders of the Sealaska Corporation. The Annette Islands Reserve is the only location in Alaska allowed to maintain fish traps according to their traditional treaty rights.
The use of these were otherwise banned when Alaska became a state in 1959. The traps are used to gather fish for food for people living on the reservation; the community was required to use the traps at least once every