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The Tlingit are a Native American group from the Pacific Northwest. They live in the United States (in the state of Alaska) and in Canada (British Columbia and Yukon). They speak the Tlingit language. In their language, Tlingit means "people of the tides."
The Tlingit get their food through hunting, gathering, and fishing. They are a matrilineal society. That means property is passed down from a mother to her children.
The Tlingit organized themselves into tribes, which they called Ḵwáan.
Tribes or Ḵwáan
|Tlingit tribe||Translation||Village or Community location||English names|
|G̱alyáx̱ Ḵwáan||Salmon Stream Tribe||Yakataga-Controller Bay area||Kaliakh|
|Xunaa Ḵáawu||Tribe or People from the Direction of the North Wind||Hoonah||Hoonah people|
|S'awdáan Ḵwáan||From S'oow (jade) daa (around), aan (land/country/village) because the bay is the color of jade all around.||Sumdum||Sumdum|
|Tʼaḵjik.aan Ḵwáan:||Coast Town Tribe||northern Prince of Wales Island||Tuxekan|
|Laax̱aayík Kwáan:||Inside the Glacier People||Yakutat area||Yakutat|
|Tʼaaḵu Ḵwáan:||Geese Flood Upriver Tribe||Taku||Taku Tlingit, Taku people|
|Xutsnoowú (a.k.a. Xudzidaa) Ḵwáan||Brown Bear Fort a.k.a. Burnt Wood Tribe||Angoon||Hootchenoo people, Hoochenoo, Kootznahoo|
|Hinyaa Ḵwáan||Tribe From Across The Water||Klawock||Henya|
|G̱unaax̱oo Ḵwáan||Among The Athabascans Tribe||Dry Bay||Gunahoo people, Dry Bay people|
|Deisleen Ḵwáan:||Big Sinew Tribe||Teslin||Teslin Tlingit, Teslin people, Inland Tlinkit|
|Shee Tʼiká (a.k.a. Sheetʼká) Ḵwáan||Outside Edge of a Branch Tribe||Sitka||Sitka, Shee Atika|
|Shtaxʼhéen Ḵwáan||Bitter Water Tribe||Wrangell||Stikine people, Stikine Tlingit|
|Jilḵáat Ḵwáan||From Chaal (food cache) xhaat (salmon) khwaan (dwellers): "Salmon Cache Tribe"||Klukwan||Chilkat people|
|Áa Tlein Ḵwáan||Big Lake Tribe||Atlin||Taku River Tlingit, Inland Tlinkit|
|Ḵéex̱ʼ Kwáan||The Opening of the Day (Dawn) Tribe a.k.a. The Town That Never Sleeps||Kake||Kake people|
|Taantʼa Ḵwáan||Sea Lion Tribe||Fort Tongass (formerly) & Ketchikan (today)||Tongass people|
|Jilḵoot Ḵwáan||Chilkoot Tribe||Haines||Chilkoot people|
|Áakʼw Ḵwáan||Small Lake Tribe||Auke Bay||Auke people|
|Kooyu Ḵwáan||Stomach Tribe||Kuiu Island||Kuiu people|
|Saanyaa Ḵwáan||Southward Tribe||Cape Fox Village (formerly) & Saxman (today)||Saanya Kwaan, owns Saxman Corporation, which owns Cape Fox Corporation|
The Tlingit have a very rich culture. They are famous for their totem poles. They incorporate art in every part of their lives. Their art has deep spiritual meaning.
Philosophy and religion
The Tlingit didn't write down their beliefs, but they do have a very complex philosophy on how they view the world.
In the 1880s, many Tlingit began to convert to Orthodox Christianity, which was introduced by the Russians. They clung to the Orthodox religion as Americans and Canadians came onto their land.
Today, young Tlingit are turning back to their traditional beliefs in order to regain a sense of identity as Tlingit.
The Tlingit have their own language, the Tlingit language. Their language has a very complex grammar and uses sounds that almost no other languages use.
However, most of them now speak English.
The Tlingit made their houses from cedar wood.
The Tlingit harvest food from the sea.
They also enjoy eating berries and meat from land animals.
Famous Tlingit people
- Yeilxaak (unknown-1791), the first chief of Klukwan to be encountered by Europeans
- X'unéi (unknown), a powerful Yakutat chief that went to war against Yeilxaak
- Shotridge (1817–1887), a powerful chief and leader of the Chilkat Tlingits
- Louis Shotridge (1883–1937), a Tlingit nobleman and American art collector, a grandson of the chief Shotridge
- K'alyaan (1773-unknown), a chief and leader who led the Tlingits against the Russians at the Battle of Sitka
- Debra Lekanoff, member of Washington State Legislature 2018
- Nora Marks Dauenhauer (1927–2017), poet, author, and scholar
- Byron Mallott (b. 1943), Lieutenant Governor of Alaska (2014–2018)
- Larry McNeil (b. 1955), photographer
- Tillie Paul (1863–1952), civil rights advocate and educator
- William Paul (1885–1977), attorney
- Elizabeth Peratrovich (1911–1958), civil rights advocate
- Clarissa Rizal (1956–2016), Chilkat and Ravenstail weaver
- Walter Soboleff (1908–2011), scholar, elder, and religious leader
- Preston Singletary (b. 1963), glass artist
- Jennie Thlunaut (ca. 1891–1986), Chilkat weaver
- Ernestine Hayes (b. 1945), poet, memorist, and professor
- Dino Rossi (b. 1959), politician
- Martin Sensmeier (b. 1985), actor