Thursday, November 25, 2010

Clans? Which am I?

The easiest way to follow the clan system is this. Each South East Native group consists of Tlingit, Eyak, and Haida. And within those clans exists two branches. For the Eyak, they were halved into moieties “two halves of one whole”, the Raven and Eagle Clans. The Tlingit had Raven or Crow and Eagle or Wolf; depending on the time period. And finally the Haida have two moieties Eagle and Raven plus many other clans under each moiety. Each of these clans has their family “crest” designed on their regalia or native button blanket.

I didn't list the Tsimshian or Gitksan above because they have a phratry system of clans “four groups instead of two.” In the Tsimshian clan system consists of; Killer whale (Black Fish), Wolf, Raven, and Eagle. In the Gitksan clan system consists of; Fireweed, Wolf, Raven, and Eagle.

By identifying all these groups of clans you are able to determine who was to marry who and who were bitter enemies. In my next entry I will have almost successfully mapped out a table to show how each of these native groups equate to each other just by looking at their regalia! Imagine you as a child and you wouldn't even need a table; naturally you could identify who was who!

The Alaska Native Heritage Museum (2010) Cultures of Alaska-Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian Retrieved November 29, 2010, from The Alaska Native Heritage Museum

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