Meaning of CARRIER in English


French Porteur, also called Takulli, Athabascan-speaking Indian tribe centred in the upper branches of the Fraser River between the Coast and Rocky mountains in what is now central British Columbia. Their name derives from the custom whereby widows carried the ashes of their deceased husbands in knapsacks for three years. They also assumed the name Takulli (People Who Go upon the Water), of obscure origin. The Carrier shared many of the customs of the Northwest Pacific Coast Indians. For food they relied chiefly on the plentiful river salmon, hunted various local game, and collected such wild plant foods as berries and roots. They also exploited the abundant woodlands, making such goods as canoes, weapons, cooking vessels, and carved pillars denoting noble crests. Southern Carrier lived in semi-subterranean houses; northern Carrier made gabled houses of poles and planks much like those of their coastal neighbours. Both types of dwellings were communal. The Carrier were semisedentary, having seasonal homes in regular organized villages. Their social organization was much like that of the coastal Indians: elaborate class structures composed of nobles, commoners, and slaves, with complex obligations usually to marry outside one's lineage, clan, and house. Each subgroup had exclusive rights to its territory, and encroachments by other subgroups constituted grounds for bloody reprisal or at least compensation. The Carrier also practiced the potlatch, the custom of large gift-giving feasts or ceremonies for the recognition of such significant events as marriage. Their religious beliefs centred vaguely on a great sky god but dealt chiefly with innumerable spirits in nature, which were contacted through dreams, visions, ritual, and magic. They also believed in both reincarnation and a nebulous afterlife. European diseases and the disruptions of their old way of life had drastically reduced the Carrier population to about 4,500 in the late 20th century.

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