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1899 and After

Bush Land Terminology

Bush Land terminology is a collection of words and definitions taken from the glossary of Terry Garvin's Bush Land People and  used to describe some of the things in the bush and activities of people in the boreal forest region.

Aboriginal  -  being the first of its kind in a region; see native person

Algonquian  -  a stock of native languages spoken from Labrador and westward to the Great Plains

barge -  a large, flat bottomed boat capable of carrying 300 - 600 tonnes of freight on rivers and lakes, and pushed or pulled by a power boat

barged -  carried or transported on a barge

boreal -  of, related to or located in northern regions; related to or growing in northern and mountainous parts of the Northern Hemisphere

break-up -  the breaking of ice on lakes and rivers in the spring

bush person -  a person occupying forested land living in part or in total from the land

cabin -  a small house on a trapline, usually having one room and built out of logs

camp -  a residence , home or property in the northern bush land

carryall -  a toboggan about 4 m long and 0.5 wide fitted with a canvas or hide container and pulled by dogs or a snowmobile; used for transporting people and goods; used by trappers and hunters

caulk -  to make waterproof by filling seams or joints of boats or houses with waterproof material

caulking -  material used to caulk seams

dog musher -  a person who controls and drives a dog team

downstream -  in the direction of the flow of a stream

dressing -  preparing the carcass of a hunted animal, bird or fish for storage or cooking

ethnic -  relating to nationalities of large groups of people classed according to common traits and customs; a member of a minority group who retains the customs, language or social views of the group

Euro-Canadian -  people who settled Canada, most of whom were from Europe; first foreigners to meet, live and do business with aboriginal people in Canada

fish stick  -  dog food comprising of about 10 kg of fish hung on a pole for drying; typically about 20 fish suspended through holes in the tail and dried

flusher(flesher) -  an instrument for scraping hair, fat and residual meat off the hide of an animal in preparation for tanning

freeze-up -  the time of year when rivers and lakes freeze over; the onset of winter

habitat -  natural environment of an animal or plant

home base  -  the main residence of a trapper

Indian -  a person registered or entitled to be registered under the Indian Act of Canada

line cabin  -  temporary residence of a trapper located one day's travel from the main residence

lobstick -  a location marker for dog team or river travellers consisting of a tall tree with only the topmost branches, leaves and cones remaining, easily seen above neighbouring bush

log-built -  home or cabin built with logs

mainland -  the main part of land other than islands

Métis -  a person of mixed blood: of Indian and non-Indian ancestry

midwife -  a woman who helps women in childbirth

moose call  -  a megaphone made of birch bark used by a hunter for attracting moose

moss -  as in bog, swamp, peat, peat moss; a clump of plants having small, leafy, often tufted stem bearing sex organs at its tip; a clump of these plants; a mossy covering

muskeg -  a marshy deposit of partly decayed vegetable matter characteristic of northern regions

native -  belonging to a particular place by birth; belonging to or associated with one by birth; synonym: indigenous, aboriginal; a reference to persons of Canadian aboriginal ancestry, including people who are defined as Indian, Inuit and Métis

native person  -  a member of a people who are traditional or original inhabitants in a region; in Canada the term includes both aboriginals and Métis

outsiders -  people in native communities who are temporary residents or visitors, often employees of government or private agencies 

pemmican -  dried, lean meat pounded into a paste with melted fat, sometimes flavored with dried berries

portage -  a carrying of boats, canoes and provisions over land from one stretch of water to another; the route followed in making such a transfer; the labour of carrying or transporting; to move or carry gear over a portage

rat canoe  -  a small, very light boat (about 3m long) used in shallow water for hunting muskrat

reefer -  a refrigerator or walk-in cooler for community use in northern communities for the storage of food from game hunting and fishing

reservation -  land for the exclusive use of Indian Bands

service community  - a settlement, town or village where food, clothing, supplies and market are provided in a trapping and hunting region

sets -  a place where traps and snares are set to catch animals

sinew -  tough, fibrous tissue uniting muscle and bone; a tendon; usually taken from the neck of moose, deer, elk or caribou

skiff (Chipewyan)  -  a flat-bottomed boat, typically about 7m long; used for river travel

stick-built -  homes or cabins built of sawed timber, i.e., lumber

stroud cloth  -  a heavy woollen cloth first made in Stroud, England

tallow -  animal fat fed to sled dogs usually as an energy supplement on day-long trips

tanning -  the process of converting raw hide to clothing fabric, i.e, leather

tea dance  -  a dance of most northern native people involving a circle of people who dance side-by-side to the rhythm of drums

thong -  a narrow strip of hide used as a fastener or lash made from tanned hide of moose, deer, caribou or elk

trading post  -  a centrally located store that trades groceries and trapline supplies for furs and cash

traces -  leather straps by which dogs pulled a toboggan

tree line  -  the separation between forested land and barren land

Reprinted from Bush Land People with permission of the author. Copyright Terry Garvin 1992-2002.

©copyright Heritage Community Foundation 2002.  All Rights Reserved.