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Clans

There are six clans represented within the governing structure of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation. The Daklaweidi and Yan Yedi clans are the Wolf Moiety, while the Deisheetaan, Gaanaxtedi, Ishkahittaan and Kookhittaan clans are of the Crow Moiety.

The information presented about clan origins in this "Our People" section, is based on materials found in a variety of forms. These would include books, archive material and information received from other researchers. Our people have not yet verified this information and we ask that this be kept in mind while reviewing this section.

It's difficult to establish exactly where all the clans came from because there are so many similarities between some of the clan "creation" stories. Plus the history was past on orally so this created many variations to the same story. Also the team has found a lot of material on the Tlingit people, but there is little information on creation and origin of the clans. What follows is a summary based on some archive research conducted by the team.

The two moieties are Wolf (Gooch) and Crow (Yeitl). Tagish/Tlingit culture is matrilineal or follows the mother's line. For instance, when a child is born he or she is born into the mother's moiety, clan and house group. Each moiety consists of several clans, each clan belongings to either wolf or crow.

The Carcross/Tagish area has six clans that are recognized. Two of the six are Wolf and the other four are Crow moiety. Daklaweidi (Killerwhale) and Yen Yedi (Wolf) are both of Wolf Moieties. Deisheetaan (Beaver), Ganaxtedi (Raven), Kookhittaan (Crow), Ishkahittan (Frog) are all of Crow Moiety.

Traditionally a person of Crow moiety must marry a person of wolf moiety and vice versa, but with the arrival and intermarriages between Europeans and other First Nation people, this custom is no longer as strictly observed. This was done to ensure the interdependence and balance of life and the Nation was maintained.

Each clan owns and carries their own crest or emblem. This crest could be attached to their regalia such as a button blanket, dance tunic or a vest. This identified which clan individuals belonged to when they attend certain functions, such as potlatches. It is illegal and considered taboo to wear a crest or emblem that is not your own. This is done so people of other clans know who you are.

It is also important to mention that all clans have clan leaders who are chosen by their respective clan members to be their spokesperson and speak on behalf of the clan at meetings, ceremonial activities, or any other public events. The clan leader is referred to as the Kha Shade Heni (headman standing up). The basic requirements in the selection of a clan leader relates to their character, abilities, social standing and demonstrated commitment to the welfare of their clan members.

The current government of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation, is governed by an elected Chief and an appointed Council, what is known as the Clan System.