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Chimakuan Family

 Native American Nations | Linguistic Families                   

  • Chimakum, Gibbs in Pac. R. R. Rep., I, 431, 1855 (family doubtful).
  • Chemakum, Eells in Am. Antiquarian, 52, Oct., 1880 (considers language different from any of its neighbors).
  • Puget Sound Group, Keane, App. Stanford’s Comp. (Cent. and So. Am.), 474, 1878 (Chinakum included in this group).
  • Nootka, Bancroft, Native Races, III, 564, 1882 (contains Chimakum).
    Derivation unknown.

Concerning this language Gibbs, as above cited, states as follows:

The language of the Chimakum “differs materially from either that of the Clallams or the Nisqually, and is not understood by any of their neighbors. In fact, they seem to have maintained it a State secret. To what family it will ultimately be referred, cannot now be decided.”

Eells also asserts the distinctness of this language from any of its neighbors. Neither of the above authors assigned the language family rank, and accordingly Mr. Gatschet, who has made a comparison of vocabularies and finds the language to be quite distinct from any other, gives it the above name.

The Chimakum are said to have been formerly one of the largest and most powerful tribes of Puget Sound. Their warlike habits early tended to dimmish their numbers, and when visited by Gibbs in 1854 they counted only about seventy individuals. This small remnant occupied some fifteen small lodges on Port Townsend Bay. According to Gibbs “their territory seems to have embraced the shore from Port Townsend to Port Ludlow.”31 In 1884 there were, according to Mr. Myron Eells, about twenty individuals left, most of whom are living near Port Townsend, Washington. Three or four live upon the Skokomish Reservation at the southern end of Hood’s Canal.

The Quile-ute, of whom in 1889 there were 252 living on the Pacific south of Cape Flattery, belong to the family. The Hoh, a sub-tribe of the latter, number 71 and are under the Puyallup Agency.

Principal Tribes
The following tribes are recognized:


Indian Linguistic Families of America North of Mexico, 1891

Linguistic Families


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