Dénés; Tinné; Tinneh

An aboriginal race of North America, also called Athapascans, found throughout the length of the Rockies, east and west. They form three groups: the Southern, composed of the Apaches, the Navajo, and several Mexican tribes; the Pacific Denes of Washington, Oregon, and California; and the Northern, the most important, to which the Loucheux, Chippewayans, Montagnais, Sekanais, Babines, and Nahanais belong. In all they number over 47,000. Originally, the Dene tribes lived by hunting and fishing; most of the hard work was done by the women, who had a low place. Polygamy was prevalent and the marriage-tie was loose. The social organization was crude. They gradually adopted the matriarchal system, with clans, chiefs, and totems. They were honest and friendly to the whites. By nature religious, the Denes listened eagerly to the Catholic missionaries. As early as 1842 Father J. B. Thibault preached to the Denes of the Canadian Rockies. In British Columbia, and east of the Rockies, they are all Catholics. The Loucheux are as a rule Protestants.

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