Etchareottine Tribe

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Etchareottine Indians, Etchareottine Nation (‘people dwelling in the shelter’). An Athapascan tribe occupying the country of Great Slave lake and upper Mackenzie river to the Rocky mountains, including the lower Liard valley, British America. Their range extends from Hay river to Ft Good Hope, and they once lived on the shores of Lake Athabasca and in the forests stretching northward to Great Slave lake. They were a timid, pacific people, called ‘the people sheltered by willows’ by the Chipewyan, indicating a riparian fisher folk. Their Cree neighbors, who harried and plundered them and carried them off into bondage, called them Awokanak, ‘slaves,’ an epithet which in its French and English forms came to be the name under which they are best known. Early in the 18th century they were dispossessed of their home, rich in fish and game, and driven northward to Great Slave lake whither they were still followed by the Cree, known only as Enna, ‘the enemy,’ a name still mentioned with horror as far as Great Bear lake. On the islands where they took refuge a fresh carnage took place. The Thlingchadinneh and Kawchodinneh, who speak the same dialect with them and bear a like reputation for timidity, probably comprehended under the name Awokanak by the Cree, began their northerly migration at the same time, probably under the same impulsion1 Petitot found among them a variety of physiognomy that he ascribed to a mixture of races. Many of the males are circumcised in infancy; those who are not are called dogs, not opprobriously, but rather affectionately. The bands or divisions are:

Eleidlinottine, Etchaottine, Etcheridiegottine, Etechesottine, Klodesseottine, and Desnedeyarelottine2 In his monograph on the Done-Dindjid, Petitot restricted the term to the Etcheridiegottine, whom he distinguished from the Slaves proper, making the latter a separate tribe with divisions at Hay river, Great Slave lake, Horn mountains, the fork of the Mackenzie, and Ft Norman.

Etchaottine. An Etchareottine division living west and north west of Great Slave lake between Liard river and the divide, along Black, Beaver, and Willow Reservation, British America. The Bistchonigottine and Krayiragottine are two of the divisions.


  1. Petitot, La Mer Glaciale, 292, 1887. 

  2. Petitot, Autour du lac des Esclaves, 363, 1891. 

MLA Source Citation:

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906. Web. 22 January 2015. - Last updated on Aug 6th, 2014

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