Tlingit

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English, Tlingit

Christianity, esp. Russian Orthodox, traditional

The Tlingit (pronounced /ˈklɪŋkɨt/ or /ˈtlɪŋɡɨt/ in English; sometimes spelled Tlinkit) are an Indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast.[2] Their name for themselves is Lingít,[3] meaning "human beings"[4] (pronounced [ɬɪnkɪ́t]). The Russian name Koloshi (Колюжи) (from an Alutiiq term for the labret) or the related German name Koulischen may be encountered in older historical literature, such as Shelikov's 1796 map of Russian America.[5]

The Tlingit are a matrilineal society[6] that developed a complex hunter-gatherer culture in the temperate rainforest of the southeast Alaska coast and the Alexander Archipelago. An inland subgroup, known as the Inland Tlingit, inhabits the far northwestern part of the province of British Columbia and the southern Yukon Territory in Canada.

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Territory

The greatest territory historically occupied by the Tlingit extended from the Portland Canal along the present border between Alaska and British Columbia, north to the coast just southeast of the Copper River delta.[7] The Tlingit occupied almost all of the Alexander Archipelago, except the southernmost end of Prince of Wales Island and its surroundings, where the Kaigani Haida moved just before the first encounters with European explorers. Inland, the Tlingit occupied areas along the major rivers which pierce the Coast Mountains and Saint Elias Mountains and flow into the Pacific, including the Alsek, Tatshenshini, Chilkat, Taku, and Stikine rivers. With regular travel up these rivers, the Tlingit developed extensive trade networks with Athabascan tribes of the interior, and commonly intermarried with them. From this regular travel and trade, a few relatively large populations of Tlingit settled around Atlin, Teslin, and Tagish Lakes, whose headwaters flow from areas near the headwaters of the Taku River.

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