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that of the Friendly Village, situated near the source of the river and about ninety miles from its mouth. All the other tribes along the route of Mackenzie, from the Lake Athapasca, or “ of the Hills,” to the sources of Salmon River, belong to the Athapasca family. The southern point which he reached on the Tacoutche Tesse, is on the boundary line between the Athapascas and the Atnahs, another inland tribe which extends thence southwardly.
The chain of mountains nearest to the Pacific is a natural limit, which separates the inland tribes from those on the shores of that ocean.
But nature had erected no such barrier between the Eskimaux, who inhabit the seacoasts of the Arctic seas, and their southern neighbours, the Athapascas. They are in a perpetual state of warfare ; but neither covets the territory occupied by the other. The deeply rooted and irreconcilable habits of the two nations, derived indeed from their respective geographical positions, have rendered the boundary between them as permanent, as if it had been marked out by nature.
ATHAPASCAS. If from the mouth of the Churchill or Missinipi * River, which empties into Hudson's Bay, in latitude 59°-60°, a line be drawn, ascending that river to its source, where it is known by the name of Beaver River (latitude about 54°), thence along the ridge, which separates the north branch of the River Saskachewan from those of the Athapasca, or Elk River, to the Rocky Mountains, and thence westwardly till within about one hundred miles of the Pacific Ocean in latitude 52° 30'; all the inland tribes, north of that line, and surrounded, on all the other sides, from Hudson's Bay to the Pacific, by the narrow belt inhabited by the Eskimaux and the other maritime tribes last
Missinipi, not to be confounded with the Mississipi. Both are Algonkin denominations, the first derived from nipi, water; the last from sipi, river. Missi never means “ father,” but, in several dialects, “all, whole.” In Algonkin and Knistinaux, missi ackki and messe aski, " the whole earth, the world,” from achki, aski, earth, (Mackenzie.) In Abenaki, messisi, “all, whole ;” French tout, (Rasle.) In Delaware, mesitscheyen, “wholly,” (Zeisberger). I think therefore the proper meaning of Missinipi and Mississipi, to be respectively, “the whole water," and "the whole river.” Both designat are equally appropriate. Rivers united form the Mississipi. The Missinipi “receives and collects the waters of a multitude of ponds and lakes.
described, do, so far as they are known, belong, with a single exception, to one family and speak kindred languages. I have designated them by the arbitrary denomination of Athapascas, which, derived from the original name of the lake since called “ Lake of the Hills,” is also that which was first given to the central part of the country they inhabit. Their southern boundary as above described is not in all its details precisely correct, and is rather that which existed eighty years ago, before encroachments had been made on their territory by the Knistinaux.
The exception alluded to is that of the “Quarrellers,” or “Loucheux," a small tribe near the mouth of Mackenzie's River, immediately above the Eskimaux, whose language they generally understand, whilst their own appeared to Mackenzie and to Captain Franklin to be different from that of the adjacent Athapasca tribes. As we have no vocabulary of it, no definitive opinion can be formed of its character.
But a portion of the territory included within the boundaries we have assigned to the Athapascas remains still unexplored.
The Rocky Mountains are a continuation of the Mexican Andes. The Columbia is the only large western river, emptying into the Pacific, which, as well as its numerous tributaries, has its source in that chain. Between the 35th and 40th degrees of north latitude, the distance from the mountains to the sea may not be less than nine hundred miles. Their course being west of north, they gradually approach the shores, from which they are not farther than four hundred miles in the latitude of 570-590. The coast thence recedes westwardly, whilst the chain continuing its course northwardly, terminates west of Mackenzie's River, within a very short distance of the Arctic Ocean. No part of the inland country west of the Rocky Mountains and north of the 59th or 60th degree of latitude, has as yet been explored; or at least no account of it has ever been published; and it is only from analogy, and because the whole of the extensive territory above described, which has been explored, is inhabited by Indians of the Athapasca family, that it is presumed, that this will also be found to be the case with the Indians of the portion not yet explored.
The most easterly Athapasca tribe, which extends to Hudson's Bay, has received from the agents of the Company of that name the appellation of Northern Indians, as contradistinguished from the eastern Knistinaux, who inhabit the country south
of the Missinipi or Churchill River. It was under the guidance of those Indians, and without a single white attendant, that Hearne reached in July, 1771, the Arctic Ocean, at the mouth of the Coppermine River. Having no other instrument but an old quadrant, and having made but few observations, he placed the mouth of that river in 120° west longitude and almost 72° of north latitude. It has since been found, by the correct observations of Captain Franklin, to lie in 115° 37' west longitude and in latitude 67° 48'. Notwithstanding this enormous difference, full justice has been rendered to the correctness, in other respects, of his relation. All his distances are indeed apparently estimated from the fatigues of the journey and must be reduced. He wintered on his return on the Lake Athapasca, and he describes the country of the Northern Indians, as bounded on the south by Churchill River, on the north by the Coppermine and Dog-rib Indians, on the west by the Athapasca country, and extending five hundred miles from east to west. It is evident that a part of Mackenzie's Cheppeyans is included within that description.
Hearne regrets (Preface) the loss of a voluminous vocabulary collected by him of the language of the Northern Indians. But, from the words scattered through his relation, it appears clearly to be the same with that of the Cheppeyans ; and he states (June, 1771,) that the Coppermine and the Northern Indians are but one people, and that their language differs less than that of provinces of England adjacent to each other. The Cheppeyans generally trade at and are seen in the vicinity of the Lake Athapasca. According to Mackenzie, they consider the country between the parallels of latitude 60 and 65° and longitude 100° to 110° west, as their lands or home. It consists almost entirely of barrens, destitute of trees; and they are obliged to winter in the adjacent woods and in the vicinity of lakes. Though the most numerous tribe of that family, the highest estimate of their population is eight hundred men. They call themselves, according to Captain Franklin, Saw-eessaw-dinneh, “ Rising-sun Men"; and their hunting-grounds extend towards the south to the Lake Athapasca and to the River Churchill. The vocabulary of their language by Mackenzie is the only one we have of any of the Indian tribes of that family east of the Rocky Mountains. The geographical situation and the names of the other tribes are given either by Mackenzie or by Captain Franklin, or by both. But they are all expressly
said to speak dialects of the same language with that of the Cheppeyans.
The tribes thus enumerated east of the Rocky Mountains are; north of the Cheppeyans and east of Mackenzie's River, the Coppermine Indians, who call themselves Tantsawhot dinneh, " Birch-rind Men,” living formerly on the south side of the great Slave Lake, but now north of it on Knife River, one hundred and ninety souls; and west of them the Thlingeha dinneh, or “Dog-rib '' Indians, sometimes also called “ Slaves," a name properly meaning “ strangers,” and which has been given by the Knistinaux to several tribes which they drove farther north, or west. Population two hundred hunters.
On Mackenzie's River, below the great Slave Lake are found the Strongbow, Edchawtawoot, or " Thick Wood,” hunters, seventy ; the Mountain Indians, hunters, forty; the Ambawtawoot, or Sheep" Indians; and the Kancho or " Hare” Indians, extending towards the great Bear Lake, and adjacent, on the west, to the Dog-rib Indians. Below the Hare Indians are found the Deegothee, Loucheux, or Quarrellers, already mentioned as speaking a different language, and being adjacent to the Eski
On the River Aux Liards, (Poplar River,) or south branch of Mackenzie's River, into which it empties in latitude 62° 30' — 63°, the Nohannies, and the Tsillaw-awdoot or “ Brushwood ” Indians, are mentioned.
On the Unjigah, Unijah, or Peace River, the Beaver and Rocky Mountain Indians; together one hundred and fifty hunters.
Near the sources of one of the branches of the Saskachawan, the Sussees or Sursees, stated by Sir A. Mackenzie to speak a dialect of the Cheppeyan language. This is corroborated by information lately received from an intelligent gentleman of the same name, who is at the head of the establishment of the Missouri American Fur Company at the mouth of the Yellow Stone River. The short vocabulary of Umfreville exhibits however but few affinities.
The Athapasca or Elk River, flowing from the south, and the Unijah or Peace River, from the west, unite their waters at the western extremity of the Lake Athapasca, and thence assume the name first of Slave, and, from the outlet of the Slave Lake, of Mackenzie's River. The River Athapasca has its source in the Rocky Mountains; and the territory lying on its waters, though formerly inhabited by Athapasca tribes, is now in the possession of the Knistinaux, who have driven away the original inhabitants.
The Unijah, which is the principal branch, has its source west of the Rocky Mountains, through wlich it forces its passage. It was up that river and its southwestern branch, that Sir A. Mackenzie proceeded on his expedition to the Pacific. He found there, as has already been stated, several tribes speaking dialects belonging to the same faniily as that of the Cheppeyans. He designates them under several probably local names, Nauscud Dennies, Slouacus Dennies, and Nagailers, and has left a short vocabulary of the last.
From Mr. Harmon, an American, who resided several years amongst those tribes, we have a recent and much more comprehensive account, as well as a vocabulary of the principal tribe, the Carriers, who call themselves “ Tacullies,” or “people who go upon water." He describes the country, called New Caledonia by the Northwest Fur Company, as extending, west of the Stony Mountains, three hundred and fifiy miles from east to west, and from the 51st to the 58th degree of north latitude. He
that it is very mountainous, containing several lakes; that about one sixth part is covered with water; and that the whole populalion does not exceed five thousand souls. This must include not only all the Athapasca tribes, as far north as latitude 589, but also
of the Atnahs. The Tacullies appear to be seated principally on the headwaters of Fraser's River, and Mr. Harmon mentions two other nations as speaking similar dialects, the Sicaunies on the upper waters of the Unijah River, and the Nateotetains,* who live west of the Tacullies, on a considerable river of the same name, which, according to his map, empties into the Pacific Ocean, in about latitude 53° 30'.
The similarity of language amongst all the tribes that have been enumerated under this head (the Loucheux excepted) is fully established. It does not appear to have any distinct affinities with any other than that of the Kinai. Yet we may observe that the word " men,” or “ people,” in the Eskimaux Janguage is
innuit, in the Cheppeyan
in some of the Algonkin-Lenape dialects and that the Cheppeyan word for “woman,” chequois, seems allied to the Lenape squaw.
dinnie, inini ;
* Page 379. But this is doubtful,