One of the most notable customs of the Tlingit people of British Columbia, Yukon and Alaska is that they are a matrilineal society. Women are also immersed in clan leadership. The aunts and uncles of Tlingit children are often responsible for teaching their nieces and nephews their place in society.Continue Reading
The Tlingit clans are subdivided into three different groups, known as moieties. These moieties are called Eagle, Raven and Wolf. A Tlingit is in the same moiety as his mother, and traditionally a Tlingit child's father played a minor role in the child's life. The child's maternal brother filled the typical fatherly role. Marriage between moieties was the accepted and expected way of courtship, however, in more modern times, this is changing as more Tlingits are marrying within moieties, to differing clans or to Euro-Americans.
Clothing and adornments also represent the customs of the Tlingit people. They often display their clan emblems on their clothing and jewelry. One particular customary piece of clothing is the Chilkat robe, which due to its intricate weaving process could take one to five years to complete. The Chilkat robe is made of mountain goat wool and cedar bark and depicts the wearer's clan symbol.
Spirit doctors are a customary part of Tlingit life and possess a vast knowledge of herbal remedies. However, contemporary Tlingits do not rely on spirit doctors alone, and consult modern doctors if necessary.Learn more about Cultures & Traditions