The Kaska are a group of Athapaskan-speaking people closely related to the Tahltan. The early Kaska economy was based on a combination of hunting, fishing and the collection of wild vegetable foods in a territory that extended over a wide area in northern British Columbia and southeastern Yukon Territory in Canada. Trading furs and hides in order to obtain consumer goods and imported hardware became increasingly important. By the mid-1940s, most Kaska had become fluent in English and nominally Roman Catholic.
Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.
North America --Arctic and Subarctic
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Documents referred to in this section are included in eHRAF World Cultures and are referenced by author, date of publication and eHRAF document number.
In addition to this culture summary, the Kaska collection (ND12) consists of documents, all of them in English, covering a variety of cultural, economic and environmental information, mostly on the Upper Liard and the Dease River Kaska groups, as observed in two different fieldwork periods; 1912-1915 and 1943-1945.
The basic and most comprehensive sources in the collection are two works by the anthropologist John Honigmann. The first focuses on the culture and ethos of contemporary Kaska society as observed by the author (Honigmann 1949, no. 1), while the second seeks to reconstruct pre-contact the past as recounted by five key informants (Honigmann 1954, no. 6).
The collection also includes two other works by the anthropologist James Teit who worked for Kaska and Tahltan “tribal councils” in 1912-1915. Together, these works provide detailed descriptive information relating to habitat, clothing, ornament, transportation, life cycles, ethnic relations and folklore (Teit 1917, no. 2; 1956, no.5). Also included in the collection is a relatively recent summary article by John Honigmann (1981, no. 7) which was originally published as a brief introduction to the Kaska in the Handbook of North American Indians volume.
For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in this collection, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.
“Kaska Dena Council” – Use POLITICAL MOVEMENTS ( 668) with CULTURAL IDENTITY AND PRIDE ( 186)
Kaska local bands – Use ANNUAL CYCLE ( 221) with SETTLEMENT PATTERNS ( 361) and/or EXTENDED FAMILIES ( 596)
Kaska Macro band –use "COMMUNITY STRUCTURE (621)" with "INTER– Use COMMUNITY RELATIONS ( 628)
Matriarchal moieties – Use MOIETIES ( 616) with RULE OF DESCENT ( 611)
Potlatch – Use GIFT GIVING ( 431) and ORGANIZED CEREMONIAL ( 796)
Relations with Hudson Bay Company – Use INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS ( 648)
Shaman – Use SHAMANS AND PSYCHOTHERAPISTS ( 756)
Snow shoes – Use LOCOMOTION ( 481)