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The Plateau People
Groups in
this Region
Environment / Housing Food / Hunting / Tools Transportation / Migration Religion / Ceremonies / Art / Clothing Tribal Relations / War
The Plateau peoples lived in a small region that included the southern interior of British Columbia and Alberta.
Family
  • The Plateau people lived and traveled together in family groups.
  • The division of labour within a family was split along gender lines.
  • The men had certain responsibilities, as did the women.
  • Men
    • The men were the decision makers in the family.
    • They were also responsible for:
      • Hunting
      • Trapping
      • Fishing
      • Making Tools
      • Warfare
  • Women
    • The women were responsible for:
      • Preparing the food
      • Harvesting plants (berries and roots)
      • Caring for the children and home
      • Making clothing

Ktunaxa family traveling

Ktunaxa family

Ktunaxa man

Mother with baby in 'Papoose' or cradleboard
Social Structure / Leadership
  • Plateau society was communal and generally free of classes (unlike the Northwest Coast people).
  • Within each community, sharing of food, and other resources was expected.
  • Hunting and fishing grounds generally belonged to the whole village, although there were exceptions to this rule.
  • In some groups, families or individuals did own specific fishing and berry areas, and others needed permission to use the resource.
  • The people of the Plateau were nomadic, so they moved around throughout the year.
  • They generally lived in small seasonal 'bands' or independent villages.
  • Each village had one or several leaders or Chiefs.
  • There was usually one main village or family Chief who had inherited the role from their father.
  • Then there were other chosen Chiefs. They were picked for different roles, such as hunting or warfare, because of their personal abilities and knowledge. For example, they had a Salmon Chief, who was responsible for the fishing in the village.
  • Plateau society was relatively democratic, with all the men in a village getting a say in all major decisions. However, Chiefs were given more power when it came to making decisions that would affect the village.
  • In some areas they also had a council of Elders who gave advice when it came to important community issues.
  • In Ktunaxa society all the decision making power was given to the Elders, because they had more life experience and were considered to be very wise.

Ktunaxa Elder
Groups in
this Region
Environment / Housing Food / Hunting / Tools Transportation / Migration Religion / Ceremonies / Art / Clothing Tribal Relations / War
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