Tribes of Canada
Hydah Indians of Canada
Hudson Bay Territory
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Sekani. Signifying "dwellers
on the rocks." Also called:
|Al-ta-tin, by Dawson (1888, p. 192 B).
Lhtaten, by Morice (1889, p. 118), meaning "inhabitants of
beaver dams": applied also to Nahane.
Rocky Mountain Indians, by Bancroft (1886-90, vol. 1, p. 35,
Sastotene, by Teit quoted by Jenness (1937, p. 5): Kaska
name for certain bands, meaning "black bear people".
Thé-ké-né, by Petitot (MS.), meaning "dwellers on the
Tsekenné, by Morice (1889, p. 112), meaning "inhabitants of
the rocks." ["people of the contorted rocks,"
||according to James Teit (1900)].
|Tseloni, by Teit quoted by
Jenness (1937, p. 5): Kaska name for certain bands, meaning
"mountain top people".
T'set'sa'ut, by Jenness (1937, p. 5): so called by the
Indians on Skeena and Nass Rivers.
Connections. The Sekani formed a group of
bands or tribes of the Athapascan linguistic stock, and were
dialectically affiliated with the Tsattine and Sarcee.
Location. On the headwaters of Peace and Liard Rivers and
some of the neighboring western slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
Jenness (1937) gives the following:
|1. Sasuchan or Sasuten, occupying all of the
basin of Finlay River from the mouth of the Omineca north
||including Thutade and Bear Lakes.
|2. Tsekani, occupying the
country from Mcleod Lake south to the divide, and east to
the edge of the prairies.
3. Tseloni, occupying the plateau country between the
headwaters of Finlay and Liard Rivers, the Fox in its upper
||reaches, and the Kechika or Muddy River
flowing through the center of their domain.
|4. Yutuwichan, in the country
from the north end of McLeod Lake down the Parsnip and Peace
Rivers to Rocky
||Mountain canyon and westward to the
headwaters of the Manson and Nation-Rivers, including Carp
Lake and the upper reaches of Salmon River.
Morice (1889) counted nine bands, but he extended
the name Sekani over the Tsattine and Sarcee and included three
minor groups whose independent position is uncertain, and which have
probably resulted from later mixtures.
History. Jenness (1937) believes that the Sekani were driven
into the Rocky Mountains as a result of the westward thrust of the
Cree. Morice (1889) tells us that the first Sekani encountered by
Europeans were evidently the band met by Alexander Mackenzie on June
9, 1793, when on his way to the Pacific Ocean. One of these guided
him to the head of Parsnip River but deserted shortly before they
came to the Fraser. In 1797 James Finlay ascended the river which
now bears his name. A few years later James McDougall penetrated the
Sekani country, and in 1805 Simon Fraser established Fort McLeod on
McLeod Lake for the Sekani trade. Since then the contact of the
tribe with the Whites has been continuous and cumulative. Traders
were followed by miners and missionaries and all the influences of a
more complicated civilization.
Population. Mooney (1928) estimated that there were 3,200
Sekani in 1780, not counting the Esbataottine, of whom he thought
there might have been 300 in 1670. Drake (1848), estimated, 1,000 in
1820, and Morice 500 in 1887 and 1893. Mooney (1928) estimated there
were 750 in 1906, including 250 Esbataottine, but a census taken by
the Canadian Department of Indian Affairs in 1923 returned only 160.
The Indian Tribes of North of America, by
John Swanton, 1953