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Coast Salish languages

Coast Salish
British Columbia, Canada) and Puget Sound (Washington state))
Linguistic classification: Salishan
Glottolog: None

Coast Salish languages are a subgroup of the Washington state around Puget Sound. The term "Coast Salish" also refers to the cultures in British Columbia and Washington who speak one of these languages or dialects.


  • Geography 1
  • Languages 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes and references 4
  • Bibliography 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7


The Coast Salish languages are spoken around most of the Puget Sound Basins, an area that encompasses the sites of the modern-day cities of Vancouver, British Columbia, Seattle, Washington, and others. Archeological evidence indicates that Coast Salish peoples may have inhabited the area as far back as 9000 BCE. What is now Seattle, for example, has been inhabited since the end of the last glacial period (c. 8,000 BCE—10,000 years ago).[1]

In the past, the Nuxálk (or Bella Coola) of British Columbia's Central Coast have also been considered Coast Salish. This language shares at least one phonological change with Coast Salish (the merger of the Proto-Salish pharyngeal approximants with the uvular fricatives), but it also displays certain similarities to the Interior Salish languages. If it is indeed a member of the Coast Salish branch, it was the first to split off from the rest.


Listings are from north to south. Peoples generally inhabited the mentioned watershed and the shores if a body of water is mentioned, as well as further environs. Adjacent tribes or nations often shared adjacent resources and other

practices, so boundaries were seldom distinct.

Language Name Variations IPA Community Where Spoken
Comox/Island Comox (†) ʔayʔajusəm Comox, Island Comox (Courtenay area).
Sliammon/Mainland Comox ʔayʔajuθəm Homalco (Xwemalhkwu), Klahoose, and Sliammon (Tla A'min).
Pentlatch (†) Puntlatch, Puntledge
Halkomelem Hul'q'umín'um' Snaw-naw-as, Snuneymuxw, Somena, Chemainus, Cowichan, Halalt, Lyackson, and Penelakut.
hǝn̓q̓ǝmin̓ǝm̓ (†) Musqueam, Tsleil-waututh, Kwikwetlem, Tsawwassen, Kwantlen (both Halkomelem and Halkomelem or up river and down river).
Halq'eméylem, Stó:lō, Teyt Aitchelitz, Chawathil, Cheam, Chehalis (Sts'Ailes), Katzie, Kwantlen, Kwaw-kwaw-Apilt, Leq'a:mel, Matsqui, Peters, Popkum, Qayqayt, Scowlitz (Skaulits), Seabird Island, Shxw'ow'hamel, Skawahlook, Skowkale, Skwah, Skway (Shxwhá:y), Soowahlie, Squiala, Sumas, Tzeachten, Union Bar and Yakweakwioose First Nations.
Sechelt Shíshalh, Sháshíshálhem Shishalh
Squamish Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Snichim, Sko-mesh Squamish and Tsleil-waututh
Nooksack Lhéchalosem Nooksack
Saanich Northern Straits Salish, SENĆOŦEN Saanich, T'souke
Lummi Northern Straits Salish, xʷləmiʔčósən Lummi or Lhaq'temish
Klallam Sklallam, Nəxʷsƛ̕áy̓emúcən Sklallam or Klallam
Lushootseed dxʷləšúcid or xʷləšúcid Samish or Sʼabš, Skagit or Sqaĵət, Sauk-Suiattle or Suiʼaẋbixʷ, Snohomish or Sduhubš, Swinomish), Duwamish or Dxʷ’Dəw?Abš and Xacuabš, Smulkamish, Sammamish, Snoqualmie or Sduqʷalbixʷ, Stkehlmish or Sacakałəbš, Suquamish or Suqʷabš, Nisqually or Sqʷaliʼabš, Muckleshoot or Bəpubšł, Puyallup or Spuyaləqəlpubšut, Sahewamish or Sʼəhiwʼabš, Squaxin Island Tribe[2]
Twana Skokomesh Skokomish
Cowlitz Chehalis
Quinault Quinault

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Carlson, Keith Thor (ed.) (2001). A Stó:lō-Coast Salish Historical Atlas. Vancouver, BC: Douglas & McIntyre. pp. 6–18.  
  2. ^ (1) Dassow in Bates, Hess & Hilbert (1994), p. iix
    (1.1) Clallam is used for Klallam.
    (1.2) This is linguistic, so Duwamish and Sammamish blend between them as well as their being closely related.
    (2) Suttles & Lane (1990), pp. 486–7


  • Bates, Dawn, Hess, Thom, and Hilbert, Vi; map by Dassow, Laura, 1994, Lushootseed dictionary, University of Washington Press, Seattle and London, ISBN 978-0-295-97323-4. (alk. paper) Revised and expanded update of Hess, Thom, Dictionary of Puget Salish (University of Washington Press, 1976). Accessed Sep 24, 2009.
  • Boyd, Robert (1999). The Coming of the Spirit of Pestilence: Introduced Infectious Diseases and Population Decline Among Northwest Coast Indians,. Seattle and Vancouver: University of Washington Press and University of British Columbia Press.  ISBN 978-0-295-97837-6. (alk. paper)
  • Cole, Douglas and Chaikin, Ira (1990). An iron hand upon the people: the law against the potlatch on the Northwest coast. Vancouver and Seattle: Douglas & McIntyre and University of Washington Press.  ISBN 978-0-295-97050-9. (acid-free paper)
  • Czaykowska-Higgins, Ewa and M. Dale Kinkade (1998) "Salish languages and linguistics" in ibid. (eds.) Salish Languages and Linguistics: Theoretical and Descriptive Perspectives. New York: Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 1–71. ISBN 978-3-11-015492-4.
  • Dailey, Tom (2006-06-14). "Duwamish-Seattle". "Coast Salish Villages of Puget Sound". Retrieved 2006-04-21. 
    Page links to Village Descriptions Duwamish-Seattle section [1].
    Dailey referenced "Puget Sound Geography" by T. T. Waterman. Washington DC: National Anthropological Archives, mss. [n.d.] [ref. 2];
    Duwamish et al. vs. United States of America, F-275. Washington DC: US Court of Claims, 1927. [ref. 5];
    "Indian Lake Washington" by David Buerge in the Seattle Weekly, 1–7 August 1984 [ref. 8];
    "Seattle Before Seattle" by David Buerge in the Seattle Weekly, 17–23 December 1980. [ref. 9];
    The Puyallup-Nisqually by Marian W. Smith. New York: Columbia University Press, 1940. [ref. 10].
    Recommended start is "Coast Salish Villages of Puget Sound" [2].
  • Kroeber, Paul D. (1999) The Salish Language Family: Reconstructing Syntax. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, ISBN 978-0-8032-2740-8.
  • Lange, Greg (2003-02-04) [2000-12-08]. "Smallpox Epidemic of 1862 among Northwest Coast and Puget Sound Indians". Essay 5171. Retrieved 2006-07-21. 
    Lange referenced a very extensive list.
    Summary article
    • Lange, Greg (2000-12-08). "Smallpox kills 14,000 Northwest Coast Indians from April to December 1862.". Essay 3176. Retrieved 2006-07-21. 
      Lange referenced Lange, "Smallpox Epidemic of 1862 among Northwest Coast and Puget Sound Indians" [3], Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History. Accessed 8 December 2000.
  • Miller, Jay (Lenape) (1996). "Seattle (Si'al)". In Hoxie, Frederick E. Encyclopedia of North American Indians. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. pp. 574–6.  
  • "The people and their land". "Puget Sound Native Art and Culture". Seattle Art Museum. 2003-07-04. per "Native Art of the Northwest Coast: Collection Insight". Retrieved 2006-04-21. 
  • Suttles, Wayne; Lane, Barbara (1990-08-20). "South Coast Salish". In Sturtevant, William C.  
  • Talbert, Paul (2006-05-01). "SkEba'kst: The Lake People and Seward Park". The History of Seward Park. Archived from the original on 2005-12-14. Retrieved 2006-06-06. 
  • Thompson, Lawrence C; Kinkade, M. Dale (1990-08-20). "Languages". In Sturtevant, William C. Handbook of North American Indians. 7. Northwest coast. Washington: Smithsonian Institution. pp. 30–51. ISBN 0-87474-187-4 (v. 7).  Wayne Suttles (ed.)

Further reading

  • Sarah C. Fletcher, (17 April 2000). "The First Nations of the North West Coast-Coast Salish; Connections to the environment, involvement in conservation." First Nations of the Northwest Coast: Coast Salish
  • Tom Dailey. "Coast Salish Villages of Puget Sound", start page.
  • Traditional Ecological Knowledge (PDF). "Traditional Ecological Knowledge of the Coast Salish informs modern research and resource management."
  • "Coast Salish. Collections: Archeology and Ethnology of the Gulf of Georgia" collection, Province of British Columbia

External links

  • "Salishan Language Family." Native Languages of the Americas website
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