Thlingchadinne Tribe

Thlingchadinne (‘dog-flank people’). An Athapascan tribe or group of tribes. Their habitat, according to Dobbs (1744), was on Seal river, in the muskox country. They did not trade with the French because they were afraid to go through the territory of the hostile Maskegon. La Potherie in 1753 located them at the sources of Churchill river. Jefferys in 1761 placed them near Hudson bay north of their foes, the Maskegon. Franklin in 1824 found them between the Tatsanottine country and Mackenzie river. Back (1835) said that they were in the barren lands about Great Slave lake. Dunn (1844) gave their habitat as Mackenzie river and Great Bear lake. According to Richardson (1851) they occupied the inland country, east of the Kawchodinne, from Lake La Martre to Coppermine river. Hind in 1863 located them about the north and north east parts of Great Slave lake, resorting to Ft Rae and Ft Simpson. Petitot gave their habitat as being between Great Slave and Great Bear lakes, east of Mackenzie river, extending as far as Coppermine river. Expelled from their pristine home by their Cree enemies, they have migrated continuously northward during two centuries. Franklin, Dease, and Simpson found them north and north east of Great Bear lake between 1819 and 1836. Since then they have returned to some of the southern districts. Petitot found Great Slave lake their extreme southern limit.
According to a fable told by the Chipewyan, Tatsanottine, and Kawchodinne, as well as by the Thlingchadinne themselves, the tribe originated from the union of a supernatural dog-man with a Tinne woman. After the discovery of copper by a Tatsanottine woman another woman of the same tribe was dwelling with her two brothers north of Great Slave lake. One day a strong and handsome stranger arrived, who, on the proposal of the brothers, took her for his wife. Waking in the middle of the wedding night she found her husband gone and heard an animal crunching bones at the fireplace. (There were no dogs then among the Tatsanottine; Franklin found them without these animals in 1820.) The same thing happened the next night. The bride and her brothers lighted torches, but found no animal. On the third night one of the brothers hurled a stone ax into the corner whence the noise of gnawing proceeded. A cry of agony was heard, and when a torch was lighted a great black dog was seen twitching in the death throes. As the human husband did not reappear, the brothers chased forth their sister because she had married a dog-man, a sorcerer, a Tlingit. She wandered into the treeless desert of Coppermine river, where in the course of time she brought forth a litter of puppies, which she kept hidden in a bag of reindeer skin. When they could run alone she was astonished to find on her return from hunting, prints of infants’ feet in the ashes. Hiding one day, she saw the little dogs leap from the bag, becoming handsome children as soon as they reached the light. She ran and pulled the string of the bag, but not before three succeeded in jumping back into the dark hole. Two boys and two girls were kept forcibly in the daylight, and these became the progenitors of the Thlingchadinne (Petitot, Autour du Lac des Esclaves, 296, 1891).
Ross states that adjoining the Tatsanottine are the Dog-ribs, whose lands extend from Coppermine river to the south east side of Great Bear lake and to about midway between Lake La Martre and Mackenzie river. In the latter tract they are much intermingled with the Etehareottine, from whom they can scarcely be distinguished except by their larger stature and their thick, stuttering, and disagreeable manner of enunciation. Petitot describes them as tall and well built, of a bronze or terra-cotta color, nervous of temperament, their hands and feet small and well modeled, the chest wide and deep, with black hair and eyes, heavy eyelids, a sad and reserved look, large mouths, full lips, furnished with slender moustaches on the men, sometimes accompanied by thin beards, their countenances having a peculiar Egyptian cast. The same author (Bull. Soc. G6og. Paris, chart, 1875) divides them into Takfwelottine, Lintchanre, Tseottine, and Tsantieottine. The Thlingchadinne subsist chiefly on the reindeer. They are said to treat their women and dogs with more kindness and consideration than do the Chipewyan tribes. The father loses his name on the birth of a child and is thereafter known as the father of so-and-so, the child. Other tribes of this group have the same custom, but these people change the name after the birth of every child, while an unmarried man is called the father of his favorite dog. Ross in 1858 gave their population as 926, of whom 533 were men and 393 were women; of this number 23 were found at Ft Resolution on Great Slave lake, 150 at Ft Simpson, and 133 at Ft Norman. Father Morice in. 1906 gave the total number of Dog-ribs as 1,150.

The books presented are for their historical value only and are not the opinions of the Webmasters of the site.   Handbook of American Indians, 1906

Canadian Indian Tribes


Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

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