Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.


(tlĭng`gĭt), group of related Native North American tribes, speaking a language that forms a branch of the Nadene linguistic stock (see Native American languagesNative American languages,
languages of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere and their descendants. A number of the Native American languages that were spoken at the time of the European arrival in the New World in the late 15th cent.
..... Click the link for more information.
). The 14 divisions of the Tlingit may reflect a former era when they were entirely independent tribes. Important among the divisions are the Chilkat, the Yakutat, the Stikine, the Sitka, the Auk, and the Huna. In 1741, when visited by Aleksei Chirikov and Vitus Bering, the Tlingit lived in SE Alaska, along the coast and on the islands around Sitka, S to Prince of Wales Island and N to the Copper River. The Russians built (1799) a fort near the site of Sitka, but the indigenous inhabitants drove them out. Aleksandr BaranovBaranov, Aleksandr Andreyevich
, 1747–1819, Russian trader, chief figure in the period of Russian control in Alaska. When his Siberian business faltered, Baranov accepted (1790) an offer to become managing agent of a Russian fur-trading company on Kodiak Island.
..... Click the link for more information.
, however, later captured the fort, killing many native people. He established a trading post there, which grew into Sitka. There was constant strife between the Tlingit and the Russians in the early 19th cent. In 1990 there were about 14,400 Tlingit in the United States, mostly in native villages in Alaska. Around 1,200 live on reserves in British Columbia and Yukon. Tlingit culture, like that of the Haida and the Tsimshian, was typical of the Northwest Coast area (see under Natives, North AmericanNatives, North American,
peoples who occupied North America before the arrival of the Europeans in the 15th cent. They have long been known as Indians because of the belief prevalent at the time of Columbus that the Americas were the outer reaches of the Indies (i.e.
..... Click the link for more information.
). Some of their finely carved totem poles survive, and the Tlingit still carry on many of their traditional dances. The name is also spelled Tlinget, Tlinkit, and Tlinket.


See L. Jones, A Study of the Tlingets of Alaska (1914, repr. 1970); T. M. Durlach, The Relationship Systems of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian (1928, repr. 1974); R. L. Olsen, Social Structure and Social Life of the Tlingit in Alaska (1967); F. De Laguna, Under Mount Saint Elias (1972).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an American Indian tribe of seafaring fishermen and hunters; former inhabitants of the southeastern coast of Alaska and the neighboring islands. The Tlingit language belongs to the Na-Dene linguistic family. Tlingit society was marked by hereditary slavery and social inequality, and it was organized along the lines of a military democracy; it was divided into totemic phratries and clans with matrilineal descent and inheritance. There are Tlingits living today in some of Alaska’s villages and cities; they are primarily fishermen, lumberjacks, and construction workers.


Averkieva, Iu. P. Indeitsy Severnoi Ameriki. Moscow, 1974.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
During this period, he continued his efforts to support the First Nation population of Yukon, and further the work that he had accomplished as Chief of the Teslin Tlingit Council.
Another sea journey, and more sumptuous meals, and you're in Ketchikan, a lively place where you can visit the Tlingit tribe's Saxman Village and watch the carving of totem poles and traditional dancing.
The truth is, in this tough land, I admire them--and we can't survive here, long term, without peace with the Tlingit."
Eventually, the Tlingit were invited back, to help supply the invaluable fur of the sea otter, much prized for its warmth and luxurious softness.
Those stories include elements from oral traditions, like the shape-shifting otter people of Tlingit lore, who prey on children, or others who turn into killer whales but seem to retain some of their human tendencies.
Officially opened in August, the Huna Tribal House now stands on the wooded shores of Bartlett Cove, the only developed area in the park, as a reminder to all who visit that this is Huna Tlingit homeland.
On the surface it may appear that inland Tlingit and other Yukon First Nations did nothing to stop "the other" (Thornton, 2004, p.
Fierce guardians of a rich homeland, the northern Tlingit drew a bold line that prohibited any white settlement.
The group will also visit the frontier town of Icy Strait, where Tlingit Indians perform a tribal dance in full regalia.
The Yakutat Tlingit Tribe of Alaska plans to grow the number of language speakers by developing a program that focuses on teaching children its native tongue called Yaakwdaat Lingit Haa Yatx'i Jeeyis, or "For Our Yakutat Tlingit Children."