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Carrier Indians of Canada

Carrier. The name was derived from a native custom whereby a widow was obliged to carry about with her in a basket for 3 years the ashes of her deceased husband. Also called:

Atlashimih, Bellacoola name.
Takulli, by several Athapascan tribes, and said to mean "people who go upon the water."

Connections. The Carriers spoke an Athapascan dialect.

Location. Around Eutsuk, Francis, Babine, and Stuart Lakes and the headwaters of the Fraser River as far south as the neighborhood of Quesnel.

Subdivisions

The lists collected by different investigators vary to some extent. The following names are adapted from Morice 
  (1906):
Southern Carriers:
Tautin, on Fraser River about old Fort Alexander.
Naskotin, in Chentsithala and Nesietsha villages, on Fraser River near the mouth of Blackwater.
Tanotenne, at the junction of Stuart and Nechako Rivers.
Ntshaautin, on Blackwater River and upper Nechaco River.
Natliatin, inhabiting Natleh and Stella, at either end of Fraser Lake.
Northern Carriers:
Nikozliautin, on the southern half of Stuart Lake and on Pintce River, in two villages, Nakraztli at the outlet of Stuart 
  Lake, and Pintce on Stuart Lake at the mouth of Pintce River.
Tatshiautin, at the head of Stuart Lake and on Tachi River and Thatlah, Tremblay, and Connolly Lakes, in the
  following villages: Kezche on Taché River, Sasthut on Connolly Lake, Tachy at the mouth of Taché River, Tsisli at the mouth of Tatlah River, Taisthainli on Lac Trembleur, Yucuche at the head of Stuart Lake and on the portage between it and Sabine Lake, and probably Saikez south of Nechaco River.
Babines: Nataotin, on middle Babine River and Babine lake, in two towns: Lathakrezla (on the north side of Babine
  Lake) and Neskollek (on Babine Lake).
Hwotsotenne, on Bulkley River, hunting as far as Francis Lake, and occupying the following villages: Hagwilget, on
  Bulkley River 3 miles southeast of Hazleton.
Hwotat, on the east side of Babine Lake near its outlet.
Keyerhwotket, on Bulkley River.
Lachalsap, on Bulkley River.
Tsechab, on Bulkley River.
Tselkazkwo, on Bulkley River.
Dawson (1880 b) makes the people of Kezche distinct from the Tatshiautin under the name of Kustsheotin, the people of Tachy distinct from the rest of the Tatshiautin under the name Tatshikotin, and the people of Stella distinct from the other Natliatin under the name Stelatin.

History. The Carriers were visited in 1793 by Alexander Mackenzie when on his way from Athabaska Lake to the Pacific Ocean. When Fort McLeod was built in the Sekani country by Simon Fraser in 1805, it served for a time as a trading point for the Carriers, but in 1806 Fort St. James was established in their own country, near the outlet of Stuart Lake. Missionary work was begun among them in 1843 by the Roman Catholic priest, Father Demers, and proved very successful. After that time white traders, miners, and settlers came in increasing numbers, and finally the country was penetrated by the Canadian transcontinental railroad to Prince Rupert.

Population. Mooney (1928) estimates that the Carrier tribe numbered 5,000 in 1780. It was given as 2,625 in 1839. Morice (1889) gave an estimate of 1,600, while the Canadian Office of Indian Affairs reported 1,551 in 1902 and 1,614 in 1909.

Connection in which they have become noted. The Carriers attracted attention at an early period on account of the peculiar custom to which they owe their name. Later they were particularly commended to the attention of ethnologists as furnishing an excellent illustration of the manner in which cultures spread on account of the mixture of coastal and interior features, and for the very thorough studies of them made by Rev. A. G. Morice.

The Indian Tribes of North of America, by John Swanton, 1953

Canadian Indians


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