Tsimshian Wolf Clans

555 Views

The Laxgibuu or Laxgyibuu  is the name for the Wolf  Clan (phratry) in the language of the Tsimshian nation of British Columbia, Canada, and southeast Alaska. It is considered the same as identically named clans among the neighboring Gitksan and Nisga’a nations.

The name Laxgibuu derives from gibuu, which means wolf in the Gitxsan and Nisga’a languages. In Tsimshian the word is gibaaw (gyibaaw or gyibaw), but Tsimshians still use the word Laxgibuu for Wolf clan.

The chief crest of the Laxgibuu is the Wolf. Other crests used by some matrilineal house-groups of the Laxgibuu include black bear.

Some Laxgibuu house-groups are related to Wolf clan groups among the Tahltan and Tlingit First Nations to the north. In the case of the Tlingit, the connection is through Tlingit Wolves who migrated south from what is now Alaska to escape inter-clan warfare and settled among the Tsimshian, Gitxsan, and Nisga’a.

Descendants of some of these migrants share with their distant Tlingit relatives variants on the “Bear Mother” story which has been well recorded by anthropologists and folklorists. The Kitsumkalum Laxgibuu are one example of a Tsimshian Wolf group who own the right to tell this story.

Nisga’a – Laxgibuu

Some Nisga’a Laxgibuu Wilp (House groups) include:

  • Gitwilnaak’il Clan:
    • House of Duuḵ – William Moore
    • House of K’eex̱kw – Herbert Morven
    • House of Gwingyoo – Ben Gonu Sr. & Reginald Percival (prev. Leonard Robinson)
  • Gisḵansnaat Clan:
    • House of Sg̱at’iin – Isaac Guno
    • House of Ni’isyoḵ – Martin Adams
    • House of Gwisḵaayn – Nelson Clayton
  • Gitlax̱t’iyooḵ Clan:
    • House of Bax̱k’ap – Jacob Nyce
    • House of Ax̱dii ‘Min’aajax̱ – Gary Alexcee
    • House of ‘Wii Gadim X̱gaak – Clyde Azak
  • Gitgigeenix Clan:
    • House of ‘Nagwa’un – Rod Maxwell
    • House of Ni’islis’yaan – Edward Moore
    • House of Kw’ax̱suu – Stuart Doolan
    • House of Gints’adax – Henry Stephens
  • Gitwilluuyaxw Clan:
    • House of Ksdiyaawaḵ – George Williams Sr.
    • House of Wii Naa-Buxw – Terry Morven
    • House of Ax̱gwindaskw – Clifford Azak Sr.
    • House of Aama Gat – Gary Stevens
    • House of ‘Wii Gwisyaxw – Arnie Stewart
    • House of X̱sduutgum Lax̱ha – Joe Calder