Southeastern Tribes: Eyak, Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian

Southeastern Tribes

Photo: “Haida Chilkat Dancers, Hydaberg, AK” Alaska State Library, Winter & Pond Collection, ASL – PCA – 87

The Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian share a common and similar Northwest Coast Indian Culture, with important differences in language and clan system. Anthropologists use the term “Northwest Coast Culture” to define the Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures, as well as that of other peoples indigenous to the Pacific coast, extending as far as northern Oregon.

The Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian have a complex social system consisting of moieties, phratries, and clans. Eyak, Tlingit, and Haida divide themselves into moieties, while the Tsimshian divide into phratries. The region from the Copper River Delta to the Southeast Panhandle is a temperate rainforest with high precipitation. Here the people depended upon the ocean and rivers for their food and travel.