Slave (American Indians Ready Reference)
Related to other Athapaskan tribes, the Etchaottine (possibly meaning “people dwelling in the shelter”) were given the name Awokanak, or “Slave,” by their Cree neighbors, and this designation was adopted by explorers and traders. (The spelling “Slavey” is also used.) Their location may once have extended as far south as Lake Athabasca, but in more recent times they have been located in reserves in the Yukon Territory, British Columbia, and Alberta in Canada.
Tribal governance was informal, with effective organization in independent bands. War leaders were chosen when necessary, and a council of hunters provided direction at other times. The Etchaottine diet consisted primarily of fish and game. Fish were caught with hooks and nets, while snares were used to catch beaver and other game animals. Their food was cooked in vessels of spruce bark or woven spruce roots. Clothing for men and women included shirts, leggings, and moccasins made of skins. Spruce roots were woven into caps for women, and babies were transported in bags made of rabbit fur. Canoes of birch or spruce bark (and, less frequently, of moose hide) enabled the Etchaottine to travel over water; snowshoes and toboggans facilitated overland travel.
Two families might share a fireplace in their summer lodges, although winter cabins were usually large enough only for one family. Etchaottine men were known for showing respect to women and for taking especially good care of...
(The entire section is 350 words.)
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