CONTINUATION OF PROCEEDINGS AT FORT ENTERPRISE.
SOME ACCOUNT OF THE COPPER INDIANS.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE JOURNEY TO THE NORTHWARD.
CONTINUATION OF PROCEEDINGS AT FORT ENTERPRISE. SOME ACCOUNT OF THE
March 18, 1821.
I shall now give a brief account of the Copper Indians termed by the
Chipewyans Tantsawhotdinneh, or Birch-rind Indians. They were originally
a tribe of the Chipewyans and, according to their own account, inhabited
the south side of Great Slave Lake at no very distant period. Their
language, traditions, and customs, are essentially the same with those of
the Chipewyans but in personal character they have greatly the advantage
of that people, owing probably to local causes or perhaps to their
procuring their food more easily and in greater abundance. They hold
women in the same low estimation as the Chipewyans do, looking upon them
as a kind of property which the stronger may take from the weaker
whenever there is just reason for quarrelling, if the parties are of
their own nation, or whenever they meet if the weaker party are Dog-Ribs
or other strangers. They suffer however the kinder affections to show
themselves occasionally; they in general live happily with their wives,
the women are contented with their lot, and we witnessed several
instances of strong attachment. Of their kindness to strangers we are
fully qualified to speak; their love of property, attention to their
interests, and fears for the future made them occasionally clamorous and
unsteady; but their delicate and humane attention to us in a season of
great distress at a future period are indelibly engraven on our memories.
Of their notions of a Deity or future state we never could obtain any
satisfactory account; they were unwilling perhaps to expose their
opinions to the chance of ridicule.
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