History Of The Yellowknives Native Americans

1144 words - 5 pages

The Yellowknives are a small tribe of Indians that are a part of a much larger grouping of Indians known as the sub-arctic Indians. As you see, the sub-arctic Indian land area is immense, and extends across the whole northern top of Canada and extends westward to Alaska. The Sub-arctic culture area stretches from the Labrador Sea to within a few miles of the Bering Sea, and encompasses six Canadian Provinces, two Territories, as well as much of Alaska. The northern boundary between Arctic and Sub-arctic shows up in the vegetation change from treeless tundra (Arctic) to forests (evergreens in the west and evergreens mixed with deciduous species in the southeast). The area is a vast, harsh one within which to live, a land of physiographic and seasonal climatic extremes."The climate is characterized by short, warm, bright summers, low precipitation, and long, exceedingly cold winters. The vegetation and topography are varied, from mountains to swampy, coniferous forests, from high plateaus and prairies to lakes, swamps, and rivers. Vegetation in the forests includes spruce, birch, aspen, cottonwood, and pine, to name a few. Vegetation edible by humans is very sparse, but berries of many kinds are plentiful; including blueberries, cranberries, gooseberries, serviceberries and raspberries. In the forests game of many different kinds abounds, including moose, some deer and elk, woodland caribou, along with various fur-bearing animals. In the many streams and lakes fish are plentiful and include salmon, pike, whitefish and other anadromous and freshwater species. Migratory waterfowl visit the region by the tens of thousands in spring and fall. Although regarded as an uninviting and unforgiving land by non-natives (explorers, traders, missionaries, governmental agents), it has been home for many thousands of years to Native people whose twentieth century descendants speak Algonquian, or Athapaskan, or more recently, French or English." (http://www.cabrillo.cc.ca.us/~crsmith/anth7_subarctic.html)The Yellowknives have a fascinating past that in keeping with tradition; should be shared and retold over generations to come. This sub-arctic Indian tribe, is situated on the North shore of Slave Lake.The explorer, Sir John Franklin who was in the British Navy in early 1820s named the Tatsanottine which is the Yellowknives' native name. This tribe was not dubbed the "Yellowknives" until later when they became known for using copper in their weapon and tool making. Copper was such a malleable substance, and it was easy to form their implements out of it. Franklin was a good friend of the Yellowknives chief, Akaitcho. "The Yellowknives became well known during this time frame due to their rescue of the Franklin expedition in the 1820s - when Franklin was searchingfor the Northwest Passage. Unfortunately, Franklin again attempted another expedition and this time he and his crew perished in the high arctic. At this time, the Yellowknives were the "ruling" tribe in...

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