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Chimmesyan Family

 Native American Nations | Linguistic Families                   

  • Chimmesyan, Latham in Jour. Eth. Soc. Lond., I, 154, 1848 (between 53° 30' and 55° 30' N.L.). Latham, Opuscula, 250, 1860.
  • Chemmesyan, Latham, Nat. Hist. Man, 300, 1850 (includes Naaskok, Chemmesyan, Kitshatlah, Kethumish). Latham in Trans. Philolog. Soc. Lond., 72, 1856. Latham, Opuscula, 339, 1860. Latham, Elements Comp. Phil., 401, 1862.
  • Chymseyans, Kane, Wanderings of an Artist, app., 1859 (a census of tribes of N.W. coast classified by languages).
  • Chimayans, Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, V, 487, 1855 (gives Kane’s list but with many orthographical changes). Dall in Proc. Am. Ass., 269, 1869 (published in 1870). 64 Dall in Cont. N.A. Eth., I, 36, 39, 40, 1877 (probably distinct from T´linkets). Bancroft, Native Races, III, 564, 607, 1882.
  • Tshimsian, Tolmie and Dawson, Comp. Vocabs., 14-25, 1884.
  • Tsimpsi-an´, Dall in Proc. Am. Ass., 379, 1885 (mere mention of family).
    X Northern, Scouler in Jour. Roy. Geog. Soc. Lond., XI, 220, 1841 (includes Chimmesyans)
  • Haidah, Scouler in Jour. Roy. Geog. Soc. Lond., XI, 220, 1841 (same as his Northern family).
  • Naas, Gallatin in Trans. Am. Eth. Soc., II, pt. 1, c, 1848 (including Chimmesyan). Berghaus (1851), Physik. Atlas, map 17, 1852.
  • Naass, Gallatin in Trans. Am. Eth. Soc., II, pt. 1, 77, 1848. Gallatin in Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, III, 402, 1853.
  • Nasse, Dall in Cont. N.A. Eth., I, 36, 40, 1877 (or Chimsyan).
  • Nass, Bancroft, Nat. Races, III, 564, 606, 1882 (includes Nass and Sebassa Indians of this family, also Hailtza).
  • Hydahs, Keane, App. to Stanford’s Comp. (Cent. and So. Am.), 473, 1878 (includes Tsimsheeans, Nass, Skeenas, Sebasses of present family).

Derivation: From the Chimsian ts´em, “on;” kcian, “main river:” “On the main (Skeena) river.”

This name appears in a paper of Latham’s published in 1848. To it is referred a vocabulary of Tolmie’s. The area where it is spoken is said by Latham to be 50° 30' and 55° 30'. The name has become established by long usage, and it is chiefly on this account that it has been given preference over the Naas of Gallatin of the same year. The latter name was given by Gallatin to a group of languages now known to be not related, viz, Hailstla, Haceltzuk Billechola, and Chimeysan. Billechola belongs under Salishan, a family name of Gallatin’s of 1836.

Were it necessary to take Naas as a family name it would best apply to Chimsian, it being the name of a dialect and village of Chimsian Indians, while it has no pertinency whatever to Hailstla and Haceltzuk, which are closely related and belong to a family quite distinct from the Chimmesyan. As stated above, however, the term Naas is rejected in favor of Chimmesyan of the same date.

For the boundaries of this family the linguistic map published by Tolmie and Dawson, in 1884, is followed.

Principal Tribes
Following is a list of the Chimmesyan tribes, according to Boas:32

A. Nasqa´:

B. Tsimshian proper:

Population.—The Canadian Indian Report for 1888 records a total for all the tribes of this family of 5,000. In the fall of 1887 about 1,000 of these Indians, in charge of Mr. William Duncan, removed to Annette Island, about 60 miles north of the southern boundary of Alaska, near Port Chester, where they have founded a new settlement called New Metlakahtla. Here houses have been erected, day and industrial schools established, and the Indians are understood to be making remarkable progress in civilization.

Indian Linguistic Families of America North of Mexico, 1891

Linguistic Families


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