Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tahtan People Are Still Fighting.

"According to the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition, Shell has launched a lawsuit against Talhtan elders for loss of revenue. The Klabona Keepers have filed a counter-suit for failure to consult.
Employment opportunities have come from natural resources development in recent years. Because of various concerns over the lands, the parties involved balance between development and the environment.
Talk of an Alaska-Canada railroad traversing Tahltan lands recurs every so often with feasibility studies being done."

These actions outraged many Tahltan who, when they learned more about the impacts of coalbed methane development, became determined to protect their territory from the threats posed by the invasive drilling.
Smith, M. (2007). TheTyee. December 9th, 2010,

A village may already suffer from high rates of drug and alcohol abuse and suicide. With the social fabric already stretched, the turmoil caused by Shell and various mining companies pushes the community closer to a total social breakdown. AN EXPLOSION will interrupt lifestyles the Tahltan are struggling to live in.

Native Music (Tahltan)

The Tahltan people are on their road to recover all traditions of language and customs. Including dance.

Time Passing On

Life changed significantly for the Tahltan people over the years with the introduction of technology ranging from vehicles to satellite dishes. What was used as brush shelter for the seclusion for the women was then being replaced with tents.  The duration of the seclusion shortened in the 1900's due to the girl's mother needing help and cumpulsory schooling replaced home training. Changing opportunities for young women made such training impossible.

Tahltan people are currently working hard at maintaining their culture, such as traditional dance and the instruction of the Tahltan language for elementary school students.

Telegraph Creek currently has a population of about 450 people and Dease Lake has about 700 people, with Dease Lake currently acting as the Government and supply center.

Achte, Scott. (2000 - 2006). Recent Developments. December 1st, 2010.

Cruikshank, J. (1979). Athapaskan Women : Lives and Legends. Ottowa: National museums of Canada.
Porter, M. (1900) Photo: BC Archives. November 29, 2010.

The small pox epidemic in 1864 and 1868 wiped out the majority of the Tahltan population. By the 1900's the population dropped to a low of 268. You aren't able to tell the effects of that tradegy in Mary
Porters picture of a Tahltan woman dressed in stylish European clothes. The Tahltan people are rediscovering their customs and beliefs and are recovering in numbers today.

The Puberty Collar

When women have started their menstruation cycle they were sent off to a secluded area from 6 months up to a year to be taught skills that would help her become a good house wife/woman. They would sit in a special position, eat in special ways, worked continuously, and under construction took precautions which would prepare for her good health, hard work and appropriate behavior for the rest of her life. When they returned, they recieved a necklace known as the "Puberty Collar" signifying they are capable of being a hard working wife and mother.Cruikshank, J. (1979). Athapaskan Women : Lives and Legends. Ottowa: National Museums of Canada.
This is the Tahltan (also Nahanni) Territory where the puberty collar was discovered. The Tahltan people are Northern Athabaskans who have migrated and settled into British Columbia, around Telegraph lake, Dease Lake and Iskut. They have two rivers they rely on for salmon; Stikine and the Iskut. Their culture is organized through a matrilinear clan system. With two clans and subdivided parties of four.

Wonders, K. (2008). First Nations Land Rights and Enviornmentalism in British Columbia. November 30, 2010,