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Slaves

Tribe of the great Dene family of American Indians

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Slaves (Déné “MEN”), a tribe of the great Déné family of American Indians, so called apparently from the fact that the Crees drove it back to its original northern haunts. Its present habitat is the forests that lie to the west of Great Slave Lake, from Hay River inclusive. The Slaves are divided into five main bands: those of Hay River, Trout Lake, Horn Mountain, the forks of the Mackenzie, and Fort Norman. Their total population is about 1100. They are for the most part a people of unprepossessing appearance. Their morals were not formerly of the best, but since the advent of Catholic missionaries they have considerably improved. Many of them have discarded the tepees of old for more or less comfortable log houses. Yet the religious instinct is not so strongly developed in them as with most of their congeners in the North. They were not so eager to receive the Catholic missionaries, and when the first Protestant ministers arrived among them, the liberalities of the strangers had more effect on them than on the other northern Dénés. Today perhaps one-twelfth of the whole tribe has embraced Protestantism, the remainder being Catholics. The spiritual wants of the latter are attended to from the missions of St. Joseph on Great Slave Lake, Ste. Anne, Hay River, and Providence, Mackenzie.

A. G. MORICE


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