Tribal Boundaries in the Nass Watershed

By Neil J. Sterritt; Susan Marsden et al. | Go to book overview

Notes

Chapter 1: Introduction
1
Calder v. Attorney General of British Columbia, Delgamuukw v. The Queen, and numerous specific legal cases concerning fisheries, traplines, and hunting grounds.
2
See, e.g., the introduction in Wilson Duff, ed., Histories, Territories and Laws of the Kitwancool, Anthropology in BC Memoir No. 4 ( Victoria: BCPM 1959).
3
Northwest Coast law included a number of measures by which boundary disputes were resolved. Houses tended to form marriage alliances with houses whose territories were adjacent to each other, thereby creating a chain of territories linked by intermarriage. The leading house chief of the village often married into the leading house of the neighbouring village, thereby linking villages and sometimes nations. Disruption of these centuries-old alliances sometimes resulted in a dispute over ownership of the territory at the boundaries of the villages and nations. These disputes were resolved in battle and a subsequent peace ceremony or by the renewal of the marriage alliance. Boundary disputes also occurred where, in ancient times, clan groups divided and became two distinct houses, one in each of two neighbouring villages. It is quite common for the boundaries between villages to run through what was, in ancient times, a single clan territory. Disputes between two branches of a clan group are most often resolved by shared use, as it is against Northwest Coast law to go to war against members of one's own clan.
4
See Chapter 5.
5
A house or house group is a matrilineal kin group and the fundamental landowning and political unit in Gitksan society. The house always bears the name of its chief. Each house is part of a larger clan group that cuts across national boundaries, the Raven (Frog), Fireweed (Killer Whale), Wolf, or Eagle clan.
6
Access to a territory other than that of one's own house requires the permission of the chief of the other house. The chief allocates rights to specific areas to those related by marriage to members of his house. These rights are formalized at the wedding feast or at subsequent feasts and are only legal during the lifetime of the spouse. The same is the case with rights to use one's father's territory. The chief may also allow temporary access to resources in his house's territory to close clan relatives from other houses. Travel through the territory of a house other than one's own, even on well-established trails, also requires the permission of the chief of that territory and does not include the right to resources. Anyone travelling in a territory other than one's own was accompanied by a member of the house owning the territory. The violation of these strict laws of ownership and rights of access and use was considered trespass, and the killing of the intruder was sanctioned by Gitksan law.
7
All the members of the house are responsible for defending their territory. The punishment of intruders is sanctioned by Gitksan law, and any house member had the right to kill a trespasser in his territory. This extreme measure usually followed several

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Tribal Boundaries in the Nass Watershed
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • 1- Introduction 3
  • 2- The Adaawḵ Record and Tribal Boundaries in the Nass Watershed 15
  • Introduction 15
  • Conclusion 57
  • 3- The Gitksan Documentary Record: Gitanyow 59
  • 4- The Gitksan Documentary Record: Kuldo, Kisgaga'As, and Kispiox 98
  • Introduction 98
  • Conclusion 130
  • 5- The Nisga'A Documentary Record 132
  • Introduction 132
  • Conclusion 192
  • 6- Witnesses on the Land: The Euro-Canadian Record, 1832-1930 194
  • Introduction 194
  • Conclusion 240
  • 7- Conclusion 243
  • 8- Epilogue 251
  • Appendices 253
  • Notes 272
  • Glossary of Terms 293
  • Glossary of Place Names 295
  • Glossary of Chiefs' Names 312
  • Bibliography 315
  • Index 319
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