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Tsetsaut Indians of Canada

Tsetsaut. Name given them by the Niska and signifying "people of the interior."

Connections. The Tsetsaut belonged to the Athapascan stock and were usually considered as a Nahane tribe. Their dialect is said to be similar to Tahltan, yet they are reported to have branched off from the Kaska.

Location. According to Teit, "their [the Tsetsaut's] country lay in a strip from near Bradfield canal and the Iskut across the streams flowing into Behm Canal perhaps to about the head of Boca de Quadra. They occupied all of the upper part of Portland Canal around Stewart, and Salmon and Bear Rivers. They may have come down the canal as far as Maple Bay. They occupied all the White River and Meziadin Lake basins and one of their original headquarters, especially for salmon fishing, was at Meziadin Lake. They stretched across the head of the Skeena River above Kuldo River over to Bear and Sustut lakes" (Teit's Note in D. Jenness, 1932).

History. Once a large tribe they were almost exterminated by the Lakweip and Tlingit about 1830. They once lived further down Behm Canal and were friendly with the Sanya Tlingit until they discovered that the latter had determined to kill them and enslave their women and children, when they emigrated to Portland Canal and, becoming reduced in numbers, fell under the control of the Niska, among whom the last of them found homes.

Population. About 1830 the Tsetsaut numbered 500; in 1895 they were reduced to 12.

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

Canadian Indians


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