North Straits Salish language

North Straits Salish is a Salish language which includes the dialects of

  • Lummi (also known as Xwlemiʼchosen, xʷləmiʔčósən) (†)
  • Saanich (also known as SENĆOŦEN, sənčáθən, sénəčqən)
  • Samish (also known as Siʔneməš) (†)
  • Semiahmoo (SEMYOME) (also known as Tah-tu-lo) (†)
  • T'sou-ke or Sooke (also known as Tʼsou-ke, c̓awk) (†)
  • Songhees (also known as Lək̓ʷəŋín̓əŋ or Lekwungen or Songish), three speakers (2011)[3]

Although they are mutually intelligible, each dialect is traditionally referred to as if it were a separate language, and there is no native term to encompass them all.

North Straits, along with Klallam, forms the Straits Salish branch of the Central Coast Salish languages. Klallam and North Straits are very closely related, but not mutually intelligible.

See Saanich dialect for the phonology.

North Straits Salish
RegionVancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada; Washington, United States
Native speakers
105 (2016 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3str

See also

  • Laurence C. Thompson; M. Terry Thompson; Barbara S. Efrat (1974). "Some Phonological Developments in Straits Salish". International Journal of American Linguistics. 40 (3): 182–196. doi:10.1086/465311.
  • Timothy Montler (1999). "Language and dialect variation in Straits Salishan". Anthropological Linguistics. 41 (4): 462–502.


  1. ^ Canada, Government of Canada, Statistics. "Aboriginal Mother Tongue (90)". Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Northern Straits Salish". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Patterson, Travis (2011-06-01). "Traditional language comes alive on breakwater". Victoria News. Retrieved 2013-06-02.

External links


Klallam (also Clallam, although the spelling with "K" is preferred in all four modern Klallam communities) refers to four related indigenous Native American/First Nations communities from the Pacific Northwest of North America. The Klallam culture is classified ethnographically and linguistically in the Coast Salish subgroup. Two Klallam bands live on the Olympic Peninsula and one on the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington state, and one is based at Becher Bay on southern Vancouver Island in British Columbia.


The Lummi ( LUM-ee; Lummi: Xwlemi [χʷləˈmi]; also known as Lhaq'temish (LOCK‐tuh‐mish), or People of the Sea), governed by the Lummi Nation, are a Native American tribe of the Coast Salish ethnolinguistic group in western Washington state in the United States. The federally recognized tribe primarily resides on and around the Lummi Indian Reservation (48°45′N 122°39′W) to the west of Bellingham in western Whatcom County, 20 miles (32 km) south of the border with Canada.

Lummi dialect

Lummi (Xwlemi Chosen, IPA: [xʷləmi tʃɔsən]) is a dialect of the North Straits Salish language traditionally spoken by the Lummi people of northwest Washington, in the United States. Although traditionally referred to as a language, it is mutually intelligible with the other dialects of North Straits.

Lummi language is still spoken on the Lummi reservation and is taught at Ferndale High School, Lummi Tribal School and the Northwest Indian College.

Pender Island

Pender Island (Saanich: st̕ey̕əs ) is one of the Southern Gulf Islands located in the Gulf of Georgia, British Columbia, Canada. Pender Island is approximately 34 km2 (13 sq mi) in area and is home to about 2,250 permanent residents, as well as a large seasonal population. Like most of the rest of the Southern Gulf Islands, Pender Island enjoys a sub-Mediterranean climate and features open farmland, rolling forested hills, several lakes and small mountains, as well as many coves and beaches.

Saanich dialect

Saanich (also Sənčaθən, written as SENĆOŦEN in Saanich orthography) is the language of the First Nations Saanich people. Saanich is a member of a dialect continuum called Northern Straits which is a Coast Salishan language. North Straits varieties are closely related to the Klallam language.

Samish (disambiguation)

Samish refers to a Native American people who live in the U.S. state of Washington, a Central Coast Salish people. It may also refer to:

Places in Washington State, United StatesLake Samish in Whatcom County

Samish Bay in Puget Sound

Samish River

Samish Island, Washington, an unincorporated community in Skagit CountyOtherArthur Samish (1897–1974), American lobbyist

MV Samish, a ferry in Washington State

Samish language, also known as North Straits Salish language

Semiahmoo First Nation

Semiahmoo First Nation ( SEM-ee-AH-moo) is the band government of the Semiahmoo people, a Coast Salish subgroup. The band's main community and offices are located on the 312 acres (1.3 km2) Semiahmoo Indian Reserve which is sandwiched between the boundary of White Rock, British Columbia and the Canada–United States boundary and Peace Arch Provincial Park.

Semiahmoo people

The Semiahmoo ( SEM-ee-AH-moh, SEM-ee-AH-moo; Semiahmoo: SEMYOME) are a Coast Salish indigenous people whose homeland is in the Lower Mainland region of southwestern British Columbia, Canada.


The Lekwungen or Lekungen nation (often called the Songhees or Songish by non-Lekwungens) are an indigenous North American Coast Salish people who reside on southeastern Vancouver Island, British Columbia in the Greater Victoria area. Their government is the Songhees First Nation, a member of the Te'mexw Treaty Association and the Naut'sa Mawt Tribal Council. Their traditional language is Lekwungen, a dialect of the North Straits Salish language.

There is evidence of a fortified village existing at Finlayson Point in Beacon Hill Park prior to the arrival of Europeans in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The Songhees' traditional foods included salmon, shellfish, whale, deer, duck, berries, camas root, and herbs. The Coast Salish traditionally lived in bighouses, which were large rectangular communal houses of cedar planks, adorned with carved and jointed totem posts.

Songhees First Nation

The Songhees First Nation is a First Nations government located around Victoria, British Columbia on southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

Bella Coola
Coast Salish
Interior Salish

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