Dakelh Bands, Communities, and Tribal Councils

The names of communities and political organizations are often confusing for outsiders. We hope that the following explanation will be helpful.

The band is the basic unit of First Nations government in Canada as far as the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs is concerned. Most bands consist of just one community (usually comprised of more than one reserve), but some bands contain more than one community. The bands are:

Tl'azt'en Nation is unusual in that it contains multiple communities: Tache (Tachie), Binche (Pinchie), K'uzche (Grand Rapids), and Dzitl'ainli (Middle River).

The Alexandria First Nation is often identified as Carrier on the basis of out-of-date information. It was originally Carrier, but over the years there was a great deal of intermarriage with Chilcotins. Today, although most people are aware of Carrier ancestors, the people of Alexandria identify themselves as Chilcotins.

Bands may be independent or they may join together into tribal councils. Tribal councils serve a variety of functions depending on the will of their member bands. They may provide services, serve as conduits for funding, or engage in political activities on behalf of their members. In some cases, the tribal council carries out treaty negotations. At present, there are two tribal councils containing eleven Dakelh bands. The Carrier-Sekani Tribal Council has eight members:

Carrier-Sekani Family Services is an independent organization that was spun-off by the Carrier-Sekani Tribal Council to provide social services and deal with health care. All of the members of the Carrier-Sekani Tribal Council are also members of Carrier-Sekani Family Services, but several independent bands also belong to CSFS.

The Carrier-Chilcotin Tribal Council has four members:

Toosey is Chilcotin; the other three bands are Dakelh. Nazko used to belong to Carrier-Chilcotin Tribal Council but is presently unafilliated.

Carrier-Chilcotin Tribal Council
59 First Avenue South
Williams Lake, BC V2G 1H4
398-7033 (telephone)
398-6329 (FAX)
991-0912 (Quesnel telephone)
991-0913 (Quesnel FAX)

The remaining bands are not affiliated with a tribal council.

For the benefit of Americans, we note that the word tribe has no legal or political meaning in Canada. It does not refer to any governmental unit. From a legal and political standpoint, there is no "Carrier tribe". It is sometimes used by anthropologists to refer to a nation as a whole, without regard to political organization, but for this purpose the term nation is generally preferred.

Updated 2009-07-31.