Babine Lake

Feature Type:Lake - Inland body of standing water.
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: W of Stuart Lake, Range 5 Coast Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 54°46'35''N, 126°00'50''W at the approximate centre of this feature.
Datum: NAD83
NTS Map: 93L/16
Related Maps:
93K/11 93K/12 93K/13 93K/5
93K/6 93L/16 93M/1 93M/2

Origin Notes and History:

Adopted in the 18th Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, 31 March 1924, as labelled on Trutch's 1871 map of British Columbia, and on Father Morice's 1907 map "Northern Interior of British Columbia", and on BC map 3D, 1919, and long-identified in documents and literature.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

"The lake is known as Kit-koin by the Tsimsians, by the Carriers as Na-taw-bun-kut or "long lake" (George M. Dawson, 1879, Geological Survey Report 1879-80, p.25B). "Babine" was the name applied by North-West Company voyageurs to a sub-tribe of the Carrier Indians, on account of their habit of wearing lip ornaments.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

"Babine or Nata Lake. "Babine" is French, meaning....a large lip. The name was applied to the Natapunket (Babine Lake) on account of their having adopted the custom of the tribes of the Coast immediately adjacent, of inserting a wooden appendage into the lower lip of the females". (Alexander Caulfield Anderson notes incorporated into J.R. Anderson's manuscript, p.295)

Source: Anderson, James Robert; Notes and comments on early days and events in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon; manuscript, 1925 (Provincial Archives E/B/An 2)

"The natives here used to let their women wear, from the time of their puberty, a labret or plug of bone or hardwood, perhaps half an inch or more in diameter, between the teeth and the lower lip, which was thus distended out of all reasonable proportions. This caused the French Canadians in the employ of the early fur-traders to call the whole tribe Babines, or "Lippy People"." (Father A.G. Morice, History of the Northern Interior of British Columbia, pp 6, 7)

Source: Morice, Rev. A.G; Fifty years in western Canada; Toronto, 1930

"....Fort Killmaurs [sic] my old charge, is situated on the borders of a superb lake, called by the native "Nata", and by ourselves denominated "Babine". Wherefore this difference of name, and what is the origin of the latter, you may ask? Know, then, that the inhabitants of the vicinity, like those of the neighbouring seacoast, have a strange custom of inserting pieces of wood or ivory, in the shape of small platters, concave on both sides, into perforations made in the nether lips of the fairer portion of the community. Jean Baptiste, a Canadian, having a nice eye for analogy of form, and detecting the likeness of this self-imposed deformity to the babine, or lip of a cow or horse, saw no better way of perpetuating his discovery than its immediate application as the distinguising name of the tribe. This delicate appellation has since taken a place in the nomenclature of the country, of which it would be now difficult to deprive it; notwithstanding the frequent inconvenience which is allowed on all hands to result from the arbitrary mode of naming places, without reference to the aboriginal nomenclature, by which alone they ought to be distinguished." (Traits of American Indian Life by Peter Ogden Skene, first published by Smith, Elder & Co., London, 1853, republished by Ye Galleon Press, Fairfield Washington, 1986, p 59, 60.)

Source: included with note

The traditional name is Nado Bun. ("Central Carrier Country" © Carrier Linguistic Committee, Fort St. James, 1974).

Source: included with note