Athapaskan Matriliny and Trade
in Canada and Alaska

WAYNE W. ALLEN, B. A, M. A

Centuries ago, what could have happened to the face of trade of one of the most progressive states in the world today? Dr. Wayne Wallen, B.A. M.A. developed a thesis on the Athapaskan native tribe in Canada and Alaska in attempt to trace the origin of the maternal clan system, as opposed to the typical paternal lineage of the rest of the world. Numerous interesting facts were found out, discussed and elaborated in the book including how and why certain clans, and division of these clans, were identified, associated and sophistically named after animals i.e. Wolf and Raven clans. It was a marvelous adventure of digging into the past and how the perceptions and practices of powerful and influential clans from before affect and mold the trade and commerce which made North Western America flourished so much, and governed the world today.

EXCERPTS

1. “They will have recourse to every subterfuge, even intimidation, to have the best of a bargain, and will do all in their power to fleece their opponent and boast of it afterwards.” (Hardisty 1950:181)

2. “It appears that the wealth accumulated in trade was spent on potlatch feasts, which strengthened matrilineal kinship ties.”

3. “In general, it can be said that the interior area that is connected to the Tlingit territory by trade routes roughly corresponds to that in which matrilineal descent groups are found.”

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