As defined by Gallatin, the area occupied by this
great family is included in a line drawn from the
mouth of the Churchill or Missinippi River to its
source; thence along the ridge which separates the
north branch of the Saskatchewan from those of the
Athapascas to the Rocky Mountains; and thence
northwardly till within a hundred miles of the
Pacific Ocean, in latitude 52° 30'.
- Athapascas, Gallatin in Trans. and Coll. Am.
Antiq. Soc., II, 16, 305, 1836. Prichard, Phys. Hist.
Mankind, V, 375, 1847. Gallatin in Trans. Am. Eth.
Soc., II, pt. 1, xcix, 77, 1848. Berghaus (1845),
Physik. Atlas, map 17, 1848. Ibid., 1852. Turner in
“Literary World,” 281, April 17, 1852 (refers Apache
and Navajo to this family on linguistic evidence).
- Athapaccas, Gallatin in Schoolcraft, Ind.
Tribes, III, 401, 1853. (Evident misprint.)
- Athapascan, Turner in Pac. R. R. Rep., III, pt.
3, 84, 1856. (Mere mention of family; Apaches and
congeners belong to this family, as shown by him in
“Literary World.” Hoopah also asserted to be
- Athabaskans, Latham, Nat. Hist. Man, 302, 1850.
(Under Northern Athabaskans, includes Chippewyans
Proper, Beaver Indians, Daho-dinnis, Strong Bows,
Hare Indians, Dog-ribs, Yellow Knives, Carriers.
Under Southern Athabaskans, includes (p. 308)
Kwalioqwa, Tlatskanai, Umkwa.)
- Athabaskan, Latham in Trans. Philolog. Soc. Lond.,
65, 96, 1856. Buschmann (1854), Der athapaskische
Sprachstamm, 250, 1856 (Hoopahs, Apaches, and
Navajoes included). Latham, Opuscula, 333, 1860.
Latham, El. Comp. Phil., 388, 1862. Latham in Trans.
Philolog. Soc. Lond., II, 31-50, 1846 (indicates the
coalescence of Athabascan family with Esquimaux).
Latham (1844), in Jour. Eth. Soc. Lond., I, 161,
1848 (Nagail and Taculli referred to Athabascan).
Scouler (1846), in Jour. Eth. Soc. Lond., I, 230,
1848. Latham, Opuscula, 257, 259, 276, 1860. Keane,
App. to Stanford’s Comp. (Cent. and So. Am.), 460,
- Kinai, Gallatin in Trans. and Coll. Am. Antiq.
Soc., II, 14, 305, 1836 (Kinai and Ugaljachmutzi;
considered to form a distinct family, though
affirmed to have affinities with western Esquimaux
and with Athapascas). Prichard, Phys. Hist. Mankind,
V, 440-448, 1847 (follows Gallatin; also affirms a
relationship to Aztec). Gallatin in Trans. Am. Eth.
Soc., II, pt. 1, 77, 1848.
- Kenay, Latham in Proc. Philolog. Soc. Lond., II,
32-34, 1846. Latham, Opuscula, 275, 1860. Latham,
Elements Comp. Phil., 389, 1862 (referred to
- Kinætzi, Prichard, Phys. Hist. Mankind, V, 441,
1847 (same as his Kinai above).
- Kenai, Gallatin in Trans. Am. Eth. Soc., II,
xcix, 1848 (see Kinai above). Buschmann, Spuren der
aztek. Sprache, 695, 1856 (refers it to Athapaskan).
- Northern, Scouler in Jour. Roy. Geog. Soc. Lond.,
XI, 218, 1841. (Includes Atnas, Kolchans, and
Kenáïes of present family.)
- Haidah, Scouler, ibid., 224 (same as his
- Chepeyans, Prichard, Phys. Hist. Mankind, V,
375, 1847 (same as Athapascas above).
- Tahkali-Umkwa, Hale in U.S. Expl. Exp., VI, 198,
201, 569, 1846 (“a branch of the great Chippewyan,
or Athapascan, stock;” includes Carriers, Qualioguas,
Tlatskanies, Umguas). Gallatin, after Hale in Trans.
Am. Eth. Soc., II, pt. 1, 9, 1848.Digothi, Berghaus
(1845), Physik. Atlas, map 17, 1848. Digothi,
Loucheux, ibid. 1852.
- Lipans, Latham, Nat. Hist. Man, 349, 1850 (Lipans
(Sipans) between Rio Arkansas and Rio Grande).
- Tototune, Latham, Nat. Hist. Man, 325, 1850
(seacoast south of the Saintskla).
- Ugaljachmutzi, Gallatin in Schoolcraft, Ind.
Tribes, III, 402, 1853 (“perhaps Athapascas”).
- Umkwa, Latham in Proc.-Philolog. Soc. Lond., VI,
72, 1854 (a single tribe). Latham, Opuscula, 300,
- Tahlewah. Gibbs in Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes,
III, 422, 1853 (a single tribe). Latham in Trans.
Philolog. Soc. Lond., 76, 1856 (a single tribe).
Latham. Opuscula, 342, 1860.
- Tolewa, Gatschet in Mag. Am. Hist., 163, 1877 (vocab.
from Smith River, Oregon; affirmed to be distinct
from any neighboring tongue). Gatschet in Beach,
Ind. Miscellany, 438, 1877.
- Hoo-pah, Gibbs in Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, III,
422, 1853 (tribe on Lower Trinity, California).
- Hoopa, Powers in Overland Monthly, 135, August,
- Hú-pâ, Powers in Cont. N.A. Eth., III, 72, 1877
(affirmed to be Athapascan).
- Tinneh, Dall in Proc. Am. Ass. A. S., XVIII,
269, 1869 (chiefly Alaskan tribes). Dall, Alaska and
its Resources, 428, 1870. Dall in Cont. N.A. Eth.,
I, 24, 1877. Bancroft, Native Races, III, 562, 583,
- Tinné, Gatschet in Mag. Am, Hist., 165, 1877
(special mention of Hoopa, Rogue River, Umpqua.)
Gatschet in Beach, Ind. Misc., 440, 1877. Gatschet
in Geog. Surv. W. 100th M., VII, 406, 1879. Tolmie
and Dawson, Comp. Vocabs., 62, 1884. Berghaus,
Physik. Atlas, map 72, 1887.
- Tinney, Keane, App. to Stanford’s Comp. (Cent.
and So. Am.), 460, 463, 1878.
- Klamath, Keane, App. to Stanford’s Comp. (Cent.
and So. Am.), 475, 1878; or Lutuami, (Lototens and
Tolewahs of his list belong here.)
Derivation: From the lake of the same name;
signifying, according to Lacombe, “place of hay and
The only tribe within the above area excepted by
Gallatin as of probably a different stock was the
Quarrelers or Loucheux, living at the mouth of
Mackenzie River. This tribe, however, has since been
ascertained to be Athapascan.
The Athapascan family thus occupied almost the whole
of British Columbia and of Alaska, and was, with the
exception of the Eskimo, by whom they were cut off
on nearly all sides from the ocean, the most
northern family in North America.
Since Gallatin’s time the history of this family has
been further elucidated by the discovery on the part
of Hale and Turner that isolated branches of the
stock have become established in Oregon, California,
and along the southern border of the United States.
The boundaries of the Athapascan family, as now
understood, are best given under three primary
groups—Northern, Pacific, and Southern.
Northern group.—This includes all the Athapascan
tribes of British North America and Alaska. In the
former region the Athapascans occupy most of the
western interior, being bounded on the north by the
Arctic Eskimo, who inhabit a narrow strip of coast;
on the east by the Eskimo of Hudson’s Bay as far
south as Churchill River, south of which river the
country is occupied by Algonquian tribes. On the
south the Athapascan tribes extended to the main
ridge between the Athapasca and Saskatchewan Rivers,
where they met Algonquian tribes; west of this area
they were bounded on the south by Salishan tribes,
the limits of whose territory on Fraser River and
its tributaries appear on Tolmie and Dawson’s map of
1884. On the west, in British Columbia, the
Athapascan tribes nowhere reach the coast, being cut
off by the Wakashan, Salishan, and Chimmesyan
The interior of Alaska is chiefly occupied by tribes
of this family. Eskimo tribes have encroached
somewhat upon the interior along the Yukon,
Kuskokwim, Kowak, and Noatak Rivers, reaching on the
Yukon to somewhat below Shageluk Island,7 and on the
Kuskokwim nearly or quite to Kolmakoff Redoubt.8
Upon the two latter they reach quite to their
heads.9 A few Kutchin tribes are (or have been)
north of the Porcupine and Yukon Rivers, but until
recently it has not been known that they extended
north beyond the Yukon and Romanzoff Mountains.
Explorations of Lieutenant Stoney, in 1885,
establish the fact that the region to the north of
those mountains is occupied by Athapascan tribes,
and the map is colored accordingly. Only in two
places in Alaska do the Athapascan tribes reach the
coast—the K´naia-khotana, on Cook’s Inlet, and the
Ahtena, of Copper River.
Pacific group.—Unlike the tribes of the Northern
group, most of those of the Pacific group have
removed from their priscan habitats since the advent
of the white race. The Pacific group embraces the
following: Kwalhioqua, formerly on Willopah River,
Washington, near the Lower Chinook;10 Owilapsh,
formerly between Shoalwater Bay and the heads of the
Chehalis River, Washington, the territory of these
two tribes being practically continuous; Tlatscanai,
formerly on a small stream on the northwest side of
Wapatoo Island.11 Gibbs was informed by an old
Indian that this tribe “formerly owned the prairies
on the Tsihalis at the mouth of the Skukumchuck,
but, on the failure of game, left the country,
crossed the Columbia River, and occupied the
mountains to the south”—a statement of too
uncertain character to be depended upon; the
Athapascan tribes now on the Grande Ronde and Siletz
Reservations, Oregon,12 whose villages on and near
the coast extended from Coquille River southward to
the California line, including, among others, the
Upper Coquille, Sixes, Euchre, Creek, Joshua, Tutu tûnne, and other “Rogue River” or “Tou-touten
bands,” Chasta Costa, Galice Creek, Naltunne tûnne
and Chetco villages;13 the Athapascan villages
formerly on Smith River and tributaries,
California;14 those villages extending southward
from Smith River along the California coast to the
mouth of Klamath River;15 the Hupâ villages or
“clans” formerly on Lower Trinity River,
California;16 the Kenesti or Wailakki (2), located
as follows: “They live along the western slope of
the Shasta Mountains, from North Eel River, above
Round Valley, to Hay Fork; along Eel and Mad Rivers,
extending down the latter about to Low Gap; also on
Dobbins and Larrabie Creeks;”17 and Saiaz, who
“formerly occupied the tongue of land jutting down
between Eel River and Van Dusen’s Fork.”18
Southern group.—Includes the Navajo, Apache, and
Lipan. Engineer José Cortez, one of the earliest
authorities on these tribes, writing in 1799,
defines the boundaries of the Lipan and Apache as
extending north and south from 29° N. to 36° N., and
east and west from 99° W. to 114° W.; in other words
from central Texas nearly to the Colorado River in
Arizona, where they met tribes of the Yuman stock.
The Lipan occupied the eastern part of the above
territory, extending in Texas from the Comanche
country (about Red River) south to the Rio Grande.19
More recently both Lipan and Apache have gradually
moved southward into Mexico where they extend as far
The Navajo, since first known to history, have
occupied the country on and south of the San Juan
River in northern New Mexico and Arizona and
extending into Colorado and Utah. They were
surrounded on all sides by the cognate Apache except
upon the north, where they meet Shoshonean tribes.
B. Pacific group:
Dakube tede (on Applegate Creek).
Kenesti or Wailakki. Kwalhioqua.
Taltûctun tûde (on Galice Creek).
C. Southern group:
Population.—The present number of the Athapascan
family is about 32,899, of whom about 8,595,
constituting the Northern group, are in Alaska and
British North America, according to Dall, Dawson,
and the Canadian Indian-Report for 1888; about 895,
comprising the Pacific group, are in Washington,
Oregon, and California; and about 23,409, belonging
to the Southern group, are in Arizona, New Mexico,
Colorado, and Indian Territory. Besides these are
the Lipan and some refugee Apache, who are in
Mexico. These have not been included in the above
enumeration, as there are no means of ascertaining
Northern group.—This may be said to consist of the
||of whom there are at Fort Halkett
||of whom there are at Fort
Yellow Knives, with a few Slave and Dog Rib
at Fort Resolution
|Dog Rib at Fort
|Dog Rib, Slave,
and Yellow Knives at Fort Rae
|Hare at Fort
|Hare at Fort
|Kai-yuh-kho-tána (1877), Koyukukhotána (1877), and
|Kutchin and Bastard Loucheux
at Fort Good Hope
|Kutchin at Peel
River and La Pierre’s House
|Kutchin on the
Yukon (six tribes)
|Nahanie at Fort
|Nahanie at Fort Halkett (including Mauvais Monde,
Bastard Nahanie, and Mountain Indians)
|Nahanie at Fort
|Nahanie at Fort
|Nahanie at Fort
Simpson and Big Island (Hudson Bay Company’s
||Slave, Dog Rib, and Hare at
Fort Simpson and Big Island (Hudson Bay
||Slave at Fort Liard
||Slave at Fort Norman
||Tenán Kutchin (1877)
To the Pacific Group may be assigned the following:
|Hupa Indians, on Hoopa
Valley Reservation, California
|Rogue River Indians at
Grande Ronde Reservation, Oregon
|Siletz Reservation, Oregon
(about one-half the Indians thereon)
|Umpqua at Grande Ronde
Southern Group, consisting of Apache, Lipan, and
|Apache children at Carlisle,
|Apache prisoners at Mount Vernon
|Coyotero Apache (San Carlos Reservation)
|Jicarilla Apache (Southern Ute
|Lipan with Tonkaway on Oakland Reserve,
|Mescalero Apache (Mescalero Reservation,
|Na-isha Apache (Kiowa, Comanche, and
Wichita Reservation, Indian Territory)
|Navajo (most on Navajo Reservation,
Arizona and New Mexico; 4 at Carlisle,
|San Carlos Apache (San Carlos
|White Mountain Apache (San Carlos
|White Mountain Apache (under military at
Camp Apache, Arizona)