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Salinan Family

 Native American Nations | Linguistic Families                    

  • Salinas, Latham in Trans. Philolog. Soc. Lond., 85, 1856 (includes Gioloco, Ruslen, Soledad of Mofras, Eslen, Carmel, San Antonio, San Miguel). Latham, Opuscula, 350, 1860.
  • San Antonio, Powell in Cont. N.A. Eth., III, 568, 1877 (vocabulary of; not given as a family, but kept by itself).
  • Santa Barbara, Gatschet in Mag. Am. Hist., 157, 1877 (cited here as containing San Antonio). Gatschet in U.S. Geog. Surv. W. 100th M., VII, 419, 1879 (contains San Antonio, San Miguel).
  • Runsiens, Keane, App. Stanford’s Comp. (Cent. and So. Am.), 476, 1878 (San Miguel of his group belongs here).

Derivation: From river of same name.

The language formerly spoken at the Missions of San Antonio and San Miguel in Monterey County, California, have long occupied a doubtful position. By some they have been considered distinct, not only from each other, but from all other languages. Others have held that they represent distinct dialects of the Chumashan (Santa Barbara) group of languages. Vocabularies collected in 1884 by Mr. Henshaw show clearly that the two are closely connected dialects and that they are in no wise related to any other family.

The group established by Latham under the name Salinas is a heterogeneous one, containing representatives of no fewer than four distinct families. Gioloco, which he states “may possibly belong to this group, notwithstanding its reference to the Mission of San Francisco,” really is congeneric with the vocabularies assigned by Latham to the Mendocinan family. The “Soledad of Mofras” belongs to the Costanoan family mentioned on page 348 of the same essay, as also do the Ruslen and Carmel. Of the three remaining forms of speech, Eslen, San Antonio, and San Miguel, the two latter are related dialects, and belong within the drainage of the Salinas River. The term Salinan is hence applied to them, leaving the Eslen language to be provided with a name.

Population.—Though the San Antonio and San Miguel were probably never very populous tribes, the Missions of San Antonio and San Miguel, when first established in the years 1771 and 1779, contained respectively 1,400 and 1,300 Indians. Doubtless the larger number of these converts were gathered in the near vicinity of the two missions and so belonged to this family. In 1884 when Mr. Henshaw visited the missions he was able to learn of the existence of only about a dozen Indians of this family, and not all of these could speak their own language.

Indian Linguistic Families of America North of Mexico, 1891

Linguistic Families


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