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Skittagetan Family

 Native American Nations | Linguistic Families                    

  • Skittagets, Gallatin in Trans. and Coll. Am. Eth. Soc., II, pt. 1, c, 1848 (the equivalent of his Queen Charlotte’s Island group, p. 77).
  • Skittagetts, Berghaus, Physik. Atlas, map 17, 1852.
  • Skidegattz, Gallatin in Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, III, 403, 1853 (obvious typographical error; Queen Charlotte Island).
  • Haidah, Scouler in Jour. Roy. Geog. Soc. Lond., XI, 224, 1841 (same as his Northern family; see below).
  • Haidah, Latham, Nat. Hist. Man, 300, 1850 (Skittegats, Massets, Kumshahas, Kyganie). Latham in Trans. Philolog. Soc. Lond., 72, 1856 (includes Skittigats, Massetts, Kumshahas, and Kyganie of Queen Charlotte’s Ids. and Prince of Wales Archipelago). Latham, Opuscula, 339, 1860. Buschmann, Spuren der aztek. Sprache, 673, 1859. Latham, El. Comp. Phil., 401, 1862 (as in 1856). Dall in Proc. Am. Ass’n. 269, 1869 (Queen Charlotte’s Ids. and southern part of Alexander Archipelago). Bancroft, Nat. Races, III, 564, 604, 1882.
  • Hai-dai, Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, V, 489, 1855. Kane, Wanderings of an Artist, app., 1859, (Work’s census, 1836-’41, of northwest coast tribes, classified by language).
  • Haida, Gibbs in Cont. N.A. Eth., I, 135, 1877. Tolmie and Dawson, Comp. Vocabs., 15, 1884 (vocabs. of Kaigani Sept, Masset, Skidegate, Kumshiwa dialects; also map showing distribution). Dall in Proc. Am. Ass’n, 375, 1885 (mere mention of family).
  • Hydahs, Keane, App. Stanford’s Comp. (Cent. and So. Am.), 460, 473, 1878 (enumerates Massets, Klue, Kiddan, Ninstance, Skid-a-gate, Skid-a-gatees, Cum-she-was, Kaiganies, Tsimsheeans, Nass, Skeenas, Sebasses, Hailtzas, Bellacoolas).
  • Queen Charlotte’s Island, Gallatin in Trans. and Coll. Am. Antiq. Soc., II, 15, 306, 1836 (no tribe indicated). Gallatin in Trans. Am. Eth. Soc., II, pt. 1, 77, 1848 (based on Skittagete language). Latham in Jour. Eth. Soc. Lond., 1, 154, 1848. Latham, Opuscula, 349, 1860.
  • Northern, Scouler in Jour. Roy. Geog. Soc. Lond., XI, 219, 1841 (includes Queen Charlotte’s Island and tribes on islands and coast up to 60° N.L.; Haidas, Massettes, Skittegás, Cumshawás). Prichard, Phys. Hist. Mankind, V, 433, 1847 (follows Scouler).
  • Kygáni, Dall in Proc. Am. Ass’n, 269, 1869 (Queen Charlotte’s Ids. or Haidahs).
  • Nootka, Bancroft, Nat. Races, III, 564, 1882 (contains Quane, probably of present family; Quactoe, Saukaulutuck).

The vocabulary referred by Gallatin95 to “Queen Charlotte’s Islands” unquestionably belongs to the present family. In addition to being a compound word and being objectionable as a family name on account of its unwieldiness, the term is a purely geographic one and is based upon no stated tribe; hence it is not eligible for use in systematic nomenclature. As it appears in the Archaeologia Americana it represents nothing but the locality whence the vocabulary of an unknown tribe was received.

The family name to be considered as next in order of date is the Northern (or Haidah) of Scouler, which appears in volume XI, Royal Geographical Society, page 218, et seq. The term as employed by Scouler is involved in much confusion, and it is somewhat difficult to determine just what tribes the author intended to cover by the designation. Reduced to its simplest form, the case stands as follows: Scouler’s primary division of the Indians of the Northwest was into two groups, the insular and the inland. The insular (and coast tribes) were then subdivided into two families, viz, Northern or Haidah family (for the terms are interchangeably used, as on page 224) and the Southern or Nootka-Columbian family. Under the Northern or Haidah family the author classes all the Indian tribes in the Russian territory, the Kolchians (Athapascas of Gallatin, 1836), the Koloshes, Ugalentzes, and Tun Ghaase (the Koluscans of Gallatin, 1836); the Atnas (Salish of Gallatin, 1836); the Kenaians (Athapascas, Gallatin, 1836); the Haidah tribes proper of Queen Charlotte Island, and the Chimesyans.

It will appear at a glance that such a heterogeneous assemblage of tribes, representing as they do several distinct stocks, can not have been classed together on purely linguistic evidence. In point of fact, Scouler’s remarkable classification seems to rest only in a very slight degree upon a linguistic basis, if indeed it can be said to have a linguistic basis at all. Consideration of “physical character, manners, and customs” were clearly accorded such weight by this author as to practically remove his Northern or Haidah family from the list of linguistic stocks.

The next family name which was applied in this connection is the Skittagets of Gallatin as above cited. This name is given to designate a family on page c, volume II, of Transactions of the Ethnological Society, 1848. In his subsequent list of vocabularies, page 77, he changes his designation to Queen Charlotte Island, placing under this family name the Skittagete tribe. His presentation of the former name of Skittagets in his complete list of families is, however, sufficiently formal to render it valid as a family designation, and it is, therefore, retained for the tribes of the Queen Charlotte Archipelago which have usually been called Haida.

From a comparison of the vocabularies of the Haida language with others of the neighboring Koluschan family, Dr. Franz Boas is inclined to consider that the two are genetically related. The two languages possess a considerable number of words in common, but a more thorough investigation is requisite for the settlement of the question than has yet been given. Pending this the two families are here treated separately.

Geographic Distribution
The tribes of this family occupy Queen Charlotte Islands, Forrester Island to the north of the latter, and the southeastern part of Prince of Wales Island, the latter part having been ascertained by the agents of the Tenth Census.96

The following is a list of the principal villages:


New Gold Harbor.

Population.—The population of the Haida is 2,500, none of whom are at present under an agent.

Indian Linguistic Families of America North of Mexico, 1891

Linguistic Families


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