Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




R. Slobodin




The social organization of Carrier bands is found to have been functionally dependent on a network of relations with coastal groups and other interior bands, including Carrier. This network involved kinship ties, economic exchanges between affines, coastal and interior trade, and participation in common ceremonial activities. The social organization of each Carrier band depended on the total set of participant communities within a ceremonial and social network specific to each band. By means of published sources and unpublished manuscripts the approximate extent and chronology of introduction of coastal features is traced and the arrangement of social units described. Ecological and historical factors in the formation of Carrier social organization are described. Due to differential contact with coastal groups, there is a west to east decrease among the northern Carrier bands in the incorporation and importance of matriliny as a structuring mechanism. Among the southern bands, a bilateral form of social organization was prevalent. Historical documents and jourrials provided a base line for tracing the development and incorporation of coastal features in the interior, the whole process a function of the increased importance of the fur trade, commencing in the late eighteenth century, and shifts in population centres and density.

McMaster University Library

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