Tsilhqot’in Food Supply According to James Teit, 1909
The main food-supply of the Chilcotin consisted of fish, game, roots, and berries, as among other tribes. Some salmon were caught and cured by them, but the bulk of their supply was procured from the Bella Coola and the Shuswap. Bag-nets were not much used in olden times, but at the present day are extensively in use along the main Chilcotin River. They are of the same kind as those of the Shuswap. Weirs and traps are employed for catching salmon about the mouth of the Chilco River. Trout and small fish were caught in great numbers with large nets and traps set in the streams and lakes. Nearly all the kinds of fish-traps used by the Carrier and Shuswap were also utilized by the Chilcotin. Fish-spears were not used so much as among the Lillooet and some other tribes. They had two or three prongs, like those commonly used by the Shuswap. It seems that single-pronged spears were not used. The tips of fish-spears were made of bone, antler, or copper. Fish-hooks were like those of the Carrier and Shuswap. When fishing through holes in the ice, small decoys in the form of fish-fry, made of bone or caribou-antler, were used, as among those tribes....
The Chilcotin were great hunters and trappers, and the Stone and Stick Chilcotin still continue to depend largely on hunting and trapping for a living. Large game was very plentiful formerly, and wild fowl were numerous in most of the lakes. Anahem and Chezikut Lakes especially, still teem with ducks and geese in the fall, and swans and pelicans are not uncommon. Grouse of seven or more varieties were plentiful. The Stick Chilcotin hunt caribou, marmots, goats, and bears; the Stone Chilcotin hunt deer, sheep, marmots, and goats; while the rest of the tribe hunt principally deer. Occasionally some of the Anahem band go northwest in the fall, and hunt caribou in the ltcha Range and in the Caribou Hills. As among the Carrier, the meat of rabbits formed a not unimportant part of the food-supply of most bands....
Dogs were used in hunting, some of them being specially trained for bear, beaver, deer, and other animals. Probably all the kinds of traps employed by the Carrier were also used by the Chilcotin. Snaring of rabbits and muskrats was a woman's occupation, the men giving attention to the capture of larger animals, such as the beaver, otter, marten, and bear. Two or three kinds of rabbit-snares were used.
Source: James Teit, "Subsistence" in The Jesup North Pacific Expedition, Memoir of the American Museum of Natural History, Franz Boas (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1909), 779-782.
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