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Hare Indian Fact Sheet

Native American Facts For Kids was written for young people learning about the Hare tribe for school or home-schooling reports. We encourage students and teachers to visit our main Hare website for in-depth information about the tribe, but here are our answers to the questions we are most often asked by children, with Hare pictures and links we believe are suitable for all ages.

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    Hare Tribe

How do you pronounce the word "Hare"? What does it mean?
Hare is pronounced the same as the English word "hare." This was actually a translation of a native band name, K'ahsho Got'ine. In their own language, the Hare generally call themselves T'ine or Dene, which means "the people," but since many different Athabascan languages share this word, they often call themselves Sahtu Dene or Hare Dene to differentiate themselves from their kinfolk. Sometimes they are also known as the North Slavey because of their similarity to the Slavey tribe.

Where do the Hares live?
The Hare Indians are original people of the Northwest Territories, in northern Canada. Here is a map showing the location of traditional Hare lands.

How is the Hare Indian nation organized?
The Hare First Nation in Canada is organized into independent bands. Each band has its own reserve, which is land that belongs to them and is under their control. Hare bands have their own government, laws, police, and services, just like a small country. However, the Hares are also Canadian citizens and must obey Canadian law.

In the past, each Hare group was governed by a headman. The headman was always male, and was chosen by clan leaders, usually on the basis of his leadership skills or hunting prowess. Today, Hare bands are governed by tribal councils. Councilmembers are elected and can be either male or female.

What language do the Hare Indians speak?
Hare people speak English today, but some Hares, especially elders, also speak their native Hare language, also known as North Slavey. Hare is a complicated language with many sounds that don't exist in English. If you'd like to know an easy Hare word, "do'eent'aa'" (sounds similar to doh-aint-ah) is a friendly greeting in Hare.

Today Hare is an endangered language because most children aren't learning it anymore. However, some Hare people are working to keep their language alive.

What was Hare culture like in the past? What is it like now?
Here's a link to the Deline First Nation of Sahtu Dene. There you can find information about the Hares in the past and today.

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How do Hare Indian children live, and what did they do in the past?
They do the same things any children do--play with each other, go to school and help around the house. Many Hare children like to go hunting and fishing with their fathers. In the past, Indian kids had more chores and less time to play, just like early colonial children. But they did have dolls, toys and games to play. Hare mothers traditionally carried their babies on their backs, using a moosehide strap called a baby belt to hold them in place.

What were Hare homes like in the past?
The Hares lived in earth houses. Athabaskan earth houses were made by digging an underground chamber, surrounding it with a pole frame and brush, and then packing the whole structure in layers of earth to insulate it. Since Hare houses were partially underground, they were larger than they appeared. Usually these houses had multiple rooms and each one housed several familes from the same clan. Here are some pictures of Native American earth lodges like the ones Hare Indians used. Athabaskan people do not live in old-fashioned earth houses anymore, any more than other Americans live in log cabins. Hare people today live in modern houses and apartment buildings, just like you.

What was Hare clothing like? Did they wear feather headdresses and face paint?
Hare men and women wore very similar clothing: a caribou-skin tunic with trousers or leggings. Like most Native Americans, the Hares wore moccasins on their feet. Here is a website with moccasin pictures from various tribes. In cold weather they added mittens, long robes, and fur hats. All of these clothing articles were frequently decorated with colorful beadwork in floral patterns. Here is a website with images of Athabascan clothes, and some photos and links about Native Indian dress in general.

The Hares didn't wear long headdresses like the Sioux tribe. Sometimes they wore fur headbands. The Hares painted their faces with different colors and designs for different occasions, and often wore Native tattoos. Both men and women usually kept their hair long.

Today, some Hare people still wear traditional beadwork designs, but they wear modern clothes like jeans instead of hide trousers... and they only wear fancy regalia for special occasions like a dance.

What was Hare transportation like in the days before cars? Did they paddle canoes?
Yes, the Hares used moose-hide or birchbark canoes to navigate the rivers. Here is an article about Native American boats. In the winter, Hare people traveled by snowshoe, and often used dogs as pack animals. Today, of course, Hare people also use cars... and non-native people also use canoes and snowshoes.

What did Hare people eat in the days before supermarkets?
The Hare Indians were hunting people. Hare men hunted wild animals such as caribou, moose, and rabbits, and caught trout and other fish in the rivers. Hare women gathered roots, berries, and other plants to add to their diet. Here is a website with more information about First Nations food.

What were Hare weapons and tools like in the past?
Hare hunters used bows and arrows, spears, and snares. Fishermen used nets and basket traps. In war, Hare men fired their bows or fought with war clubs. Here is a website with photographs and information about Native Indian weapons.

What are Hare arts and crafts like?
Hare artists are known for their fine quill and bead work. Here is an online photo gallery of Athabascan artwork.

What is Hare music like?
The most important Hare instrument is the drum. Northern Athabaskan people usually play small hand-held drums instead of large communal drums like Plains Indian people. Here is a video of Sahtu Dene people performing a traditional song.

What other Native Americans did the Hare tribe interact with?
The Hares traded regularly with neighboring Athabaskan tribes. They were especially friendly with the Dogrib tribe. The Hares and Dogribs often helped each other in times of trouble, and sometimes intermarried. The Hare Indians sometimes fought with the Yellowknives, although at other times they were peaceful trading partners.

What kinds of stories do the Hare Indians tell?
There are lots of traditional Hare legends and fairy tales. Storytelling is very important to the Hare Indian culture. Here is one Hare legend about a Dene culture hero.

What about Hare religion?
Spirituality and religion were important parts of Athabaskan life, and some people continue to practice traditional beliefs today. It is respectful to avoid imitating religious rituals for school projects since some Hare people care about them deeply. You can read and learn about them, however. You can visit this site to learn more about the meaning of Athabascan spiritual beliefs or another site about Native religions in general.

Can you recommend a good book for me to read?
You may enjoy At the Heart of It, an interesting book for kids about the life of a contemporary Sahtu boy. For older readers, we can recommend End-of-Earth People: The Arctic Sahtu Dene, an excellent book about the Hare culture and worldview. Younger kids might like The Girl Who Swam With The Fish, a picture book based on an Athabascan legend. You can also browse through our reading list of Indian literature in general. Disclaimer: we are an Amazon affiliate and our website earns a commission if you buy a book through one of these links. Most of them can also be found in a public library, though!

How do I cite your website in my bibliography?
You will need to ask your teacher for the format he or she wants you to use. The authors' names are Laura Redish and Orrin Lewis and the title of our site is Native Languages of the Americas. We are a nonprofit educational organization working to preserve and protect Native American languages and culture. You can learn more about our organization here. Our website was first created in 1998 and last updated in 2020.

Thanks for your interest in the Hare Indian people and their language!

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Learn More About The Hare Tribe

Hare Indian Tribe
An overview of the Hare people, their language and history.

Hare Language Resources
Hare Indian language samples, articles, and indexed links.

Hare Culture and History Directory
Related links about the Hare Native Americans past and present.

Hare Indian Words
Hare Indian vocabulary lists.

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