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The gentile form of social organization appears to be wanting. On account of the uncertain application of the divisional names given by the Jesuit missionaries and other early writers it is impossible to identify them with those more modernly recognized. Richardson save: “It would, however, be an endless task to attempt to determine the precise people designated by the early French writers. Every small band, naming itself from its hunting grounds, was described as a different nation.” The first notice of the Cree divisions is given in the Jesuit Relation of 1658, which states that they are composed of four nations or peoples, as follows:
Kilistinons of the bay of Ataotiabouscatouek
Kilistinons of the Nipisiriniens
At least 3 of these divisions are erroneously located on the Creuxius map of
1660, and it is evident from the Relation that at least 3 of them were supposed by the writer to have been situated somewhere south or southwest of James Bay. Nothing additional is heard of them in the subsequent notices of the tribe, which is otherwise divided into the Paskwawininiwug and Sakawininiwug (people of the plains and of the woods), the former subdivided into Sipiwininisvug and Mamikininiwug (river and lowland people), the latter into Sakittawawininiwug and Ayabaskawininiwug (those of Cross lake and those of Athabasca). In 1856 the Cree were divided, according to Hayden, into the following bands, all or nearly all taking their names from their chiefs:
besides several smaller bands and a considerable number around Cross lake, in the present Athabasca, who were not attached to any band. So far as now known the ethnic divisions, aside from the Cree proper, are the Maskegon and the Monsoni. Although these are treated as distinct tribes, they form, beyond doubt, integral parts of the Cree. It was to the Maskegon, according to Richardson, that the name Kilistenaux, in its many forms, was anciently applied, a conclusion with which Henry apparently agrees.
Additional Cree Indian Resources
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