Definition of Tsimshian in English:



  • 1A member of an American Indian people of coastal British Columbia.

    • ‘The Tsimshian had survived and flourished for thousands of years in their lush and bountiful rain forest home.’
    • ‘These tribes include Eskimo (the largest), Aleuts, Alaska Athabaskan, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, American Indian, and ‘Tribes Not Reported or Specific’.’
    • ‘The Tsimshian were able musicians, dancers,and dramatists.’
    • ‘Timothy had strong roots in the native Alaskan tribe of the Tsimshian and it showed in more ways than one.’
  • 2The language of the Tsimshian.

    • ‘The Gitksan people of British Columbia have no conventional native name for their language which sets it apart from other varieties such as Nisgha and Tsimshian.’
    • ‘His name in the language of the native Alaskan Tsimshian, Sm'algyax, had been Baa'làx Án'on, or ‘Ghost Hand’.’
    • ‘Tomlinson's parents were missionaries, and he also spoke Tsimshian.’


  • Relating to the Tsimshian or their language.

    • ‘One of the books that arrived in the mail from a friend is The Porcupine Hunter, a gathering of Tsimshian fables, myths and moral tales (one might call them cautionary tales) written down by Henry Tate from 1903 until his death in 1913.’
    • ‘The Gitksan generally refer to their own language as Sim'algax [the real or true language], but the Nisgha and Tsimshian people do the same.’
    • ‘The noble visage on a Tsimshian headdress, inlaid with eyes and teeth of abalone, or a simple Iroquois drinking cup, bearing a stylized beaver carved in maple, express an aesthetic that speaks to a common humanity.’
    • ‘In the early 1920s, the Canadian government cut down hundreds of poles in Tsimshian villages and re-erected them miles away along the Canadian-Pacific Railway.’
    • ‘Ravens from Kwakiutl, Tsimshian, Haida, or Tlingit territory sounded different, especially in their characteristic ‘tok’ and ‘tlik.’’


From the Tsimshian self-designation c'msyan, literally inside the Skeena River.