Almost all major ethnic divisions may be further subdivided into groups which share single languages or major dialects, and form convenient regional cultural units for study. Among the aboriginal peoples of British Columbia the ten major ethnic groups have been subdivided into thirty-four linguistic subdivisions.
The Athapaskan division, of interest to the Peace River area, has nine subdivisions:
One immediately questions whether all these groups might have come over Bering Strait and down the Mackenzie or Rocky Mountain Trench corridors.
In order to divide Indian groupings into a workable number of descriptive units, most scholars have decided on certain names for certain groups. These names are not usually ones the Indians use for themselves and perhaps those names should be used.
In British Columbia alone there are ten well recognized major ethnic groups commonly referred to by these names:
|Nootka||Bella Coola||Coast Salish|