Archaeological Excavation

Tsimshian Society and Culture

Trade Routes
Transporting Trade Goods
Goods Obtained in Trade
Wealth and Rank
Men's Activities
Women's Activities

Tsimshian Villages

Tsimshian Society and Culture


Furs - CD94-630-012 - 59502 Furs, Hazelton, ca. 1923.

Trade between Native groups across North America and Asia has existed for thousands of years. Dozens of overland trails linked Native villages with navigable waterways, forming a network between the villages and the resource areas used for fishing, hunting, plant- and food-gathering. Trade on the north coast of British Columbia has been traced back more than 10,000 years through the dating of archaeological finds. Trade items included rare stones, such as obsidian, jade and quartz crystal, as well as earth pigments, medicinal substances, rare woods, furs, preserved meats, shellfish and berries.

Eulachon oil from the Nass River was the Tsimshian's main trade commodity. Used as a condiment and medicine, it was in great demand among the peoples of the interior.

Their woven goat-hair blankets and beautifully carved raven rattles were highly prized by their trading partners.