Gabrielino (American Indians Ready Reference)
The Gitksan are a tribal group of western-central British Columbia, closely related in language and culture to the Tsimshian, their neighbors to the west. They originally occupied the Skeena River valley; since 1900, however, some have moved into parts of the adjacent Nass river system to the northwest, where they have intermarried with some members of the Nishga, another group closely related to the Tsimshian.
The Gitksan possess many of the same general cultural features of other Northwest Coast groups. They rely on predictable and abundant salmon runs, fish for ocean species such as halibut and cod, and collect shellfish, including several species of clams. The Gitksan also traditionally hunted elk, blacktail deer, beaver, fox, and several types of sea mammals.
In general, Gitksan social organization resembles that of other west-central coastal groups. Traditionally they traced descent through the female side (matrilineal descent), but married couples were obligated to reside in or near the house of the groom's parents (patrilocality). Cross-culturally, this is an unusual pattern. Some anthropologists have speculated that the Gitksan, along with other Northwest Coast groups, may have been exclusively matrilineal/matrilocal in the past, but because through time so much wealth and property was being accumulated by males, cultural evolution favored a shift to institutions sanctioning male control over residence and the eventual transference of...
(The entire section is 319 words.)
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