ETHNONYMS: Tsattine, Castors
The Beaver are an American Indian group numbering about nine hundred located in northeast British Columbia and northwest Alberta in Canada. They are closely related to the Sekani, their neighbors to the west. Today, the Beaver reside in the same area, on or near the Prophet River, Beaton River, Doig River, Blueberry River, and West Moberly Lake reserves in British Columbia and the Child Lake, Boyer, Clear Hills, and Horse Lakes Reserves in Alberta. Beaver is an Athapaskan language.
The Beaver were nomadic hunter-gatherers. Beaver was the most important game, first as the basic food and later for both food and the fur trade. In accordance with the nomadic way of life, band composition was flexible, with the bilaterally extended family the basic social and economic unit. Early contacts with Whites included involvement in the fur trade and Roman Catholic missionaries, producing a syncretic Religion composed of Catholic and traditional beliefs and practices. Extensive contacts with Whites began in the twentieth century and have included the farming of traditional Beaver lands, compulsory education (which led to English replacing Beaver as the primary language), and the establishment of the reserves. Wage labor now competes with hunting and trapping as the major source of income.
Ridington, Robin (1968). "The Environmental Context of Beaver Indian Behavior." Ph.D. diss., Harvard University.
Ridington, Robin (1981). "Beaver." In Handbook of North American Indians. Vol. 6, Subarctic, edited by June Helm, 350-360. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.