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Kutchin, Kutenai and Kwakiutl and  Indians of Canada

Kutchin. The Kutchin occupied the entire central portion of Yukon territory and extended to the lower course of the Mackenzie, which they occupied on both sides from New Fort Good Hope to the delta. (See Nakotcho-kutchin, Takkuth-kutchin, Tatlit-kutchin, and Alaska.)

Kutenai. The Kutenai were located on Kootenay River and Lake and extended into the United States, occupying the northern parts of Montana and Idaho. In later prehistoric times they extended some distance into the Plains. (See Montana.)

Kwakiutl. Own name, signifying according to themselves, "smoke of the world," but probably meaning "beach at the north side of the river."

Connections. With the Bellabella (q. v.), the Kwakiutl constituted one grand division of the Wakashan linguistic family, the Nootka forming the other.

Location. On both shores of Queen Charlotte Sound, and the northern end of Vancouver Island.


The bands or septs, with the relations which they bear to one another, are indicated in the following list, based upon information obtained by Boas (1897):

Koskimo Subdialect:
  Klaskino, on Klaskino Inlet, Vancouver Island.
Koprino, at the entrance of Quatsino Sound.
Quatsino, at the entrance of Quatsino Sound, Vancouver Island.
Nawiti Subdialect:
  Nakomgilisala, originally at Cape Scott, Vancouver Island.
Tlatlasikoala, formerly at the northeast end of Vancouver Island.
Kwakiutl Subdialect:
  Awaitlala, on Knight Inlet.
Goasila, on Smith Inlet.
Guauaenok, on Drury Inlet.
Hahuamis, on Wakeman Sound.
Koeksotenok, on Gilford Island.
Kwakiutl, including Guetela, Komkutis, Komoyue, Matilpe, and Walas Kwakiutl most of whom lived at
  Fort Rupert.
  Lekwiltok, between Knight and Bute Inlets.
Mamalelekala, on Village Island.
Nakoaktok, on Seymour Inlet.
Nimkish, on and near Nimkish River.
Tenaktak, on Knight Inlet.
Tlauitsis, on Cracroft Island.
Tsawatenok, on Kingcombe Inlet.
An extinct band was called Hoyalas.


Awaitlala and Tenaktak: Kwatsi, at Point Macdonald, Knight Inlet. (See Tsawatenok.)
Goasila: Waitlas, at the mouth of Samo River, Smith Inlet.
Guauaenok: Hohopa, on the west coast of Baker Island; Kunstamish, on the east side of Clayton Bay, Wells
  Passage. (see Tsawatenok.) Hahuamis. (See Tsawatenok.)
Koeksotenok: Kwakwakas, on the west coast of Gilford Island.
Koeksotenok and Mamalelekala: Memkumlis, on Village Islands, at the mouth of Knight Inlet.
Lekwiltok: Husam, at the mouth of Salmon River; Tatapowis, on Hoskyn Inlet; Tsaiiyeuk, at the entrance of Bute
  Inlet; Tsakwalooin, near Cape Mudge.
Mamalelekala. (See Koeksotenok).
Matilpe: Etsekin, on Havannah Channel.
Nakoaktok: Awuts, on the lagoon above Shelter Bay; Kikwistok, on the lower part of Seymour Inlet; Mapakum, on Deserter's Island of the Walker Group.
Quatsino: Owiyekumi, on Forward Inlet, Quatsino Sound; Tenate, on the north shore of Forward Inlet.
  Tenaktak: (See Awaitlala.)
Tlauitsis: Kalakowis, on the west end of Turnour Island.
Tsawatenok: Hata, at the head of Bond Sound; Kwae, at the head of Kingcombe Inlet.
Tsawatenok, Hahuamis, and Guauaenok together: Kwaustums, on Gilford Island.

History. If the voyage of Fuentes in 1640 is authentic, he was probably the first European to encounter any of the Kwakiutl Indians. Bodega and Maurelle passed along their coast in 1775, and from this time on they were visited by English and American explorers and traders at frequent intervals. The establishment of a Hudson's Bay post at Victoria in 1843 marked an epoch in their dealings with the Whites which since then have been more and more intimate. Mission work among the Bellabella was very successful but the southern branches of the family held on to their ancient customs with more tenacity.

Population. Mooney (1928) estimated that in 1780 there were 4,500 southern Kwakiutl Indians. In 1906 there were 1,257. The Report of the Canadian Department of Indian Affairs for 1909 gives 2,090 Kwakiutl.

Connection in which they have become noted. These tribes are noteworthy for the very complete studies of their social organization and potlatch customs made by Boas (1897), assisted by George Hunt, and the important part these studies have played in the development of general theories of exogamy and totemism.

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

Canadian Indians

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