Tsimshian


Tsimshian
/chim"shee euhn, tsim"-/, n., pl. Tsimshians, (esp. collectively) Tsimshian.
1. a member of an American Indian people of the coastal region of British Columbia.
2. the Penutian language of the Tsimshian.

* * *

One of the peoples of the Northwest Coast Indians living in the Skeena and Nass river area in west-central British Columbia, Can.

, and southern Alaska, U.S. The Tsimshian dialects belong to the family of Penutian languages. The traditional economy was based on fishing, with some hunting in winter. Large winter houses, made of wood and often carved and painted, symbolized family wealth. Descent was traced through the maternal line. Lineages functioned largely independently, but all participated in major ceremonies and in warfare. Various important events were marked by a potlatch. At the turn of the 21st century the Tsimshian numbered in the thousands.

* * *

people
also spelled  Chimmesyan 

      North American Indians of the Northwest Coast who traditionally lived on the mainland and islands around the Skeena and Nass rivers and Milbanke Sound in what is now British Columbia, Can., and Alaska, U.S. They speak any of three Tsimshian dialects: Niska, spoken along the Nass River; coastal Tsimshian, along the lower Skeena and the coast; and Kitksan (or Gitksan), along the upper Skeena. Tsimshian is classified as a Penutian language (Penutian languages).

      The traditional economy of the Tsimshian was based on fishing. They passed the summer months trapping migrating salmon and eulachon ( candlefish), a species of smelt. Eulachon were particularly valuable for their oil, which was made into a food highly regarded by many peoples of the area. Large permanent winter houses, made of wood and often carved and painted, symbolized the wealth of Tsimshian families; during the winter months, some land animals were also hunted.

      The coastal Tsimshian and the Niska were divided into four major clans, or kin groups; the Kitksan into three. These were further divided into local segments or lineages, descent being traced through the maternal line. Each lineage was generally an independent social and ceremonial unit with its own fishing and hunting areas, berry grounds, house or houses, and heraldic crests representing events in the family history, as well as its own chiefs. Local groupings, or tribes, were composed of several lineages; each lineage was ranked relative to the others, and the chief of the highest-ranked lineage was recognized as chief of the tribe. The tribe as a whole held properties such as the winter village site and participated in ceremonies and warfare.

      The Tsimshian were known for their highly conventionalized applied art. Carved and painted columns (popularly known as “totem poles (totem pole)”) were erected, primarily as memorials to deceased chiefs. The major Tsimshian potlatches (potlatch), or ceremonial distributions of gifts, had as their purpose the announcement and validation of the position of the new chief. Potlatches could also mark a series of events several years apart, such as house building, totem-pole raising, and dramatizations of privileges and crests.

      Early 21st-century population estimates indicated some 5,000 Tsimshian descendants.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tsimshian — Sprachen Die Tsimshian sind eine Gruppe indianischer Ethnien Nordwestkanadas und Alaskas. Sie sind im Gebiet um Terrace, Prince Rupert und Kitimat an der Nordwestküste der Provinz British Columbia und auf Annette Island am südlichsten Punkt… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • TSIMSHIAN — TSIMSHIA Indiens de la côte Pacifique du nord ouest de l’Amérique du Nord (Colombie britannique), les Tsimshian étaient divisés en quatorze tribus établies dans l’une des plus riches régions de la côte. Leurs villages d’hiver étaient composés de… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Tsimshian — Les Tsimshian (Sm algyax: Ts’msyan) sont un peuple indigène d Amérique du Nord. . Leurs communautés sont originaires de l estuaire du fleuve Skeena (le nom Tsimshian signifie Peuple de la rivière Skeena), autour des villes actuelles de Terrace et …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tsimshian —   [ tʃimʃ ], mitunter noch Chimmesyan, Stammesgruppe der Nordwestküstenindianer im nördlichen British Columbia und südlichen Alaska, aus der Penuti Sprachgruppe. Die etwa 6 300 eigentlichen Tsimshian, davon 1 200 in Alaska, leben v. a. an der… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Tsimshian — The Tsimshian (Sm algyax: Ts’msyan) IPA|/ sɪm.ʃi.æn/ are an indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Tsimshian translates to Inside the Skeena River . [Campbell, Lyle (1997). American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics of… …   Wikipedia

  • Tsimshian — Bandera Nis ga tshimshian, representación en la UNPO. Los tsimshian son un conjunto de comunidades amerindias que constituyen la nación chimnesyan según teminología de John Wesley Powell, el nombre de la cual significa gente del río Skeena , y se …   Wikipedia Español

  • Tsimshian — noun (plural an or ans) Etymology: Tsimshian (Coast and Southern Tsimshian languages) c̓msyan, a self designation, literally, inside the Skeena (River) Date: 1836 1. a member of a group of American Indian peoples of west central British Columbia… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Tsimshian — [ tʃɪmʃɪən] noun (plural same) 1》 a member of an American Indian people of the northern Pacific coast. 2》 the Penutian language of the Tsimshian. adjective relating to the Tsimshian or their language. Origin from Tsimshian ĉamsián, lit. inside… …   English new terms dictionary

  • tsimshian — Uno de los pueblos de los indios de la costa noroccidental que viven en la zona de los ríos Skeena y Nass, en el centro oeste de Columbia Británica, Canadá, y en el sur de Alaska, EE.UU. Sus dialectos pertenecen a la familia de lenguas penutias.… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Tsimshian — Tsim•shi•an [[t]ˈtʃɪm ʃi ən, ˈtsɪm [/t]] n. pl. ans, (esp. collectively) an. 1) peo a member of an American Indian people occupying a region of coastal British Columbia S of the present border with Alaska 2) peo the language of the Tsimshian …   From formal English to slang


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.