Sub-Arctic Indians

Chippewa Indian

The climate, environment, land and natural resources that were available to the Indian tribes in this area resulted in the adoption of the culture shared by the Sub-Arctic Indians, such as the Chippewa Indian illustrated in the painting.

Learn about the life of the people of the Sub-Arctic Indians. Discover facts and information about the natural resources available, the languages, culture, clothing, their religion, beliefs and ceremonies. Pictures and images illustrating the Sub-Arctic Indians culture.

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The Culture of the Sub-Arctic Indians
Location: The Sub-Artic culture area stretches from the Labrador Sea to the Bering Sea, encompassing six Canadian Provinces, two Territories, as well as much of Alaska as shown on the map. The climate, land and natural resources that were available to the Indian tribes resulted in the adoption of the culture shared by the Sub-Arctic people. This section on the Sub-Arctic people group provides facts and information about their languages, the Geography and Environment, an area of swampy, pine forests and water-logged tundra.

The animals and the Plants, Trees and Crops provided the food, clothing, shelter and decorations of those tribes who spoke the Athabaskan language such as the Ingalik, Kuchin and Beaver and those who spoke the Algonquian language such as the Ojibwa, Cree and Naskapi. Their Houses, Shelters and Homes depended on the materials available to them and whether the home was permanent or temporary. There are also facts and info about the Religion, Ceremonies and Beliefs of the Sub-Arctic people group.

Map showing Native American Indians Cultural Groups

Map showing location of
Arctic Indians Cultural Group


Sub-Arctic Indians - Lifestyle (Way of Living)
The climate, land and natural resources that were available to the Indian tribes resulted in the adoption of the Sub-Arctic Indians culture.

  • Name of Group: Sub-Arctic Indians. Nomadic hunters and Fishers
  • Languages: Algonquian and Athabaskan
  • Geography of the State of Sub-Arctic Indians: The area stretches across the treeless tundra to evergreen forests in the North to deciduous forests in the South. Mountain ranges, lakes and rivers. Long, cold, snowy winters and short, warm summers
  • Animals: Caribou, moose, elk, deer, wolves, bears, beaver, coyote, mink, ermine, rabbits, hyena and lynx
  • Fish: Pike and Salmon
  • Natural Resources: Trees, plants various berries
  • Food: In the summer food was stored in pits in the ground or bags suspended from poles. An edible food called pemmican was prepared by the women through a process of drying, pulverizing and then mixing it with fat. Pemican remained edible for over a year. During the winter food was also preserved by freezing.
  • Types of housing, homes or shelters: Pit houses, wigwams, tepees, smokehouses and lean-to's
  • Famous Tribes of Sub-Arctic Indians: Ingalik, Kuchin, Beaver, Chippewa (Ojibwa), Cree and Naskapi
  • Cultural Change: Impact of the Hudson's Bay Fur Company
  • The Native Indians who lived on the borders of lands often reflected two different types of lifestyles. 

Sub-Arctic Indians - Languages
Native sub-arctic peoples have over 30 languages, falling into two major language families: Algonquian and Athapaskan. The Algonquian peoples tend to live in the east of the region, whilst the Athapaskan speaking peoples live more in the west.

Sub-Arctic Indians - Animals
The animals were very important to the Sub-Arctic Indians. The animals available to the Native Indians of this group were Caribou, moose, elk, deer, wolves, bears, ermine, rabbits, hyena and lynx. Fish included Pike and Salmon. The uses of the animals were varied and included food, clothing, shelter and decorations.

Sub-Arctic Indians - Plants and Trees
The  dominant vegetation is a peaty herb land dominated by grasses and sedges. Tall cedar trees. Coniferous forests. The soil was poor and often swampy.

Sub-Arctic Indians - Houses, Shelters and Homes
The different types of Houses, Shelters and Homes depended on the materials available and whether the home was permanent or temporary. Many of the tribes were Nomadic and used a variety of houses and homes including Wigwams, Pit houses, tepees, smokehouses and lean-to's.

Sub-Arctic Indians - Religion, Ceremonies and Beliefs
Animism was a commonly shared doctrine, or belief, of the indigenous people of North America and Canada including the Sub-Arctic Indian tribes. Animism is based on the spiritual or religious idea that the universe and all natural objects have souls or spirits. In this religion it is believed that souls or spirits exist not only in humans but also in animals, plants, trees, rocks etc. This belief is also extended to natural phenomena such as thunder storms and rain and geographic features such as mountains, caves or rivers also possess souls or spirits. 

Tricksters feature in the legends and mythology of the Sub-Arctic peoples as do heroic figures "transformers" who transform, or change, the world into its present state.

Sub-Arctic Indians - The Shaman
The Religion, Ceremonies and Beliefs of the Sub-Artic Indians were also dominated by Shamanism in which a religious leader called a Shaman acted as a medium between the visible and spirit worlds.

Sub-Arctic Indians - Geography and Environment
The Geography and Environment can be generally described as a flat, treeless tundra to evergreen forests and glacial lakes in the North to deciduous forests in the South. Long, cold, snowy winters and short, warm summers.

Dog Sled, Parka and Snow shoes

Picture by Paul Kane showing a Dog Sled, Parka and Snow shoes

Sub-Arctic Indians

  • Interesting Facts and information about Sub-Arctic Indians
  • Way of Life, Housing and homes
  • Sub-Arctic Indians tribes of Indians
  • Fast Facts and info about Religion, Ceremonies and Beliefs
  • Animals, Plants, Trees and Crops
  • Homework resource for kids on Sub-Arctic Indians

Pictures and Videos of Sub-Arctic Indians
The Sub-Arctic Indians! Discover the vast selection of pictures and videos of Sub-Arctic Indians. The pictures show the clothing, weapons and decorations of various Sub-Arctic Indians that can be used as a really useful educational resource for kids and children of all ages. Our series of videos enable fast access to the images, pics, paintings and pictures together with information and many facts. We hope that this article on Sub-Arctic Indians will assist in your studies or homework and that you will enjoy watching the videos featuring many pictures of the Sub-Arctic Indians. A great educational resource for kids on the subject of Sub-Arctic Indians.


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