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(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.
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). 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.
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, 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.
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). 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 ?
The Russians came to take as many furs as they could, initially using the Tlingit as gatherers before setting up a fort in Sitka, pushing out the native Americans who had lived in this bountiful land in relative harmony for 13,000 years.
The father, Mike Pavlik, Sr., of Czechoslovakian descent, married Mary Pavlik, a Tlingit woman from Klukwaan, Plaines, Alaska, and they had several children.
Muir ventured into Alaska in 1879 lugging with him the then-widespread belief that Native Americans were little more than mythology, pitiable has-beens with "no place in the landscape." Aboard the steamship from San Francisco, Muir's missionary companions spoke of the northern Tlingit people as the last of the "wild tribes"--untreatied, warlike, animistic--in a geographic and cultural stronghold untouched by Euro-American influence.
The Tlingit were inveterate traders, ranging hundreds of miles up the Gulf of Alaska and south to what is now Washington and Oregon.
The author asserts nevertheless that the Tlingits were in many respects "colonized or victimized" (186) by European American photography.
Hunsaker uses multilingual scenes--some in English and Russian, others in Tlingit and English--to convey the way nuance gets lost in communication across cultures.
True to the company's mission to explore native themes, this production contextualized Shakespeare's play in Alaska's indigenous Tlingit (pronounced tlinkit) culture.
responsible development will make a huge difference to the Tlingits, as
The Tlingit, whose name means "people of the tidelands," migrated from Asia across the Bering Land Bridge thousands of years ago.
The Tlingit Indians were a tribe of Native Americans who lived in the area of northwestern Canada that borders with southeast Alaska.
Ward is the designated spokesperson for the Taku River Tlingit First Nation.