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Salishan Family

 Native American Nations | Linguistic Families                    

  • Salish, Gallatin in Trans. Am. Antiq. Soc., II, 134, 306, 1836 (or Flat Heads only). Latham in Proc. Philolog. Soc. Lond., II, 31-50, 1846 (of Duponceau. Said to be the Okanagan of Tolmie)
  • Salish, Keane, App. Stanford’s Comp. (Cent. and So. Am.), 460, 474, 1878 (includes Flatheads, Kalispelms, Skitsuish, Colvilles, Quarlpi, Spokanes, Pisquouse, Soaiatlpi).
  • Salish, Bancroft, Nat. Races, III, 565, 618, 1882.
  • Selish, Gallatin in Trans. Am. Eth. Soc. II, pt. 1, 77, 1848 (vocab. of Nsietshaws). Tolmie and Dawson, Comp. Vocabs., 63, 78, 1884 (vocabularies of Lillooet and Kullespelm).
  • Jelish, Gallatin in Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, III, 403, 1853 (obvious misprint for Selish; follows Hale as to tribes).
  • Selish, Gatschet in Mag. Am. Hist., 169, 1877 (gives habitat and tribes of family). Gatschet in Beach, Ind. Misc., 444, 1877.
  • Selish, Dall, after Gibbs, in Cont. N.A. Eth., 1, 241, 1877 (includes Yakama, which is Shahaptian).
  • Tsihaili-Selish, Hale in U.S. Expl. Exp., VI, 205, 535, 569, 1846 (includes Shushwaps. Selish or Flatheads, Skitsuish, Piskwaus, Skwale, Tsihailish, Kawelitsk, Nsietshawus). Gallatin in Trans. Am. Eth. Soc., II, pt. 1, c, 10, 1848 (after Hale). Berghaus (1851), Physik. Atlas, map 17, 1852. Buschmann, Spuren der aztek. Sprache, 658-661, 1859. Latham, El. Comp. Phil., 399, 1862 (contains Shushwap or Atna Proper, Kuttelspelm or Pend d’Oreilles, Selish, Spokan, Okanagan, Skitsuish, Piskwaus, Nusdalum, Kawitchen, Cathlascou, Skwali, Chechili, Kwaintl, Kwenaiwtl, Nsietshawus, Billechula).
  • Atnahs, Gallatin in Trans. Am. Antiq. Soc., II, 134, 135, 306, 1836 (on Fraser River). Prichard, Phys. Hist. Mankind, V, 427, 1847 (on Fraser River).
  • Atna, Latham in Trans. Philolog. Soc. Lond., 71, 1856 (Tsihaili-Selish of Hale and Gallatin).
  • Nootka-Columbian, Scouler in Jour. Roy. Geog. Soc. Lond., XI, 224, 1841 (includes, among others, Billechoola, Kawitchen, Noosdalum, Squallyamish of present family).
  • Insular, Scouler, ibid., (same as Nootka-Columbian family).
  • Shahaptan, Scouler, ibid., 225 (includes Okanagan of this family).
  • Southern, Scouler, ibid., 224 (same as Nootka-Columbian family).
  • Billechoola, Latham in Jour. Eth. Soc. Lond., I, 154, 1848 (assigns Friendly Village of McKenzie here). Latham, Opuscula, 250, 1860 (gives Tolmie’s vocabulary).
  • Billechula, Latham, Nat. Hist. Man, 300, 1850 (mouth of Salmon River). Latham in Trans. Philolog. Soc. Lond., 72, 1856 (same). Latham, Opuscula, 339, 1860.
  • Bellacoola, Bancroft, Nat. Races, III, 564, 607, 1882 (Bellacoolas only; specimen vocabulary).
  • Bilhoola, Tolmie and Dawson, Comp. Vocabs., 62, 1884 (vocab. of Noothlakimish).
  • Bilchula, Boas in Petermann’s Mitteilungen, 130, 1887 (mentions Satsq, Nute?´l, Nuchalkm?, Taleóm?).
  • Naass, Gallatin in Trans. Am. Eth. Soc. II, pt. 1, c, 77, 1848 (cited as including Billechola).
  • Tsihaili, Latham, Nat. Hist. Man, 310, 1850 (chiefly lower part of Fraser River and between that and the Columbia; includes Shuswap, Salish, Skitsuish, Piskwaus, Kawitchen, Skwali, Checheeli, Kowelits, Noosdalum, Nsietshawus).
  • Wakash, Latham, Nat. Hist. Man, 301, 1850 (cited as including Klallems).
  • Shushwaps, Keane, App. Stanford’s Comp. (Cent. and So. Am.), 460, 474, 1878 (quoted as including Shewhapmuch and Okanagans).
  • Hydahs, Keane, ibid., 473 (includes Bellacoolas of present family).
  • Nootkahs, Keane, ibid., 473 (includes Komux, Kowitchans, Klallums, Kwantlums, Teets of present family).
  • Nootka, Bancroft, Nat. Races, III, 564, 1882 (contains the following Salishan tribes: Cowichin, Soke, Comux, Noosdalum, Wickinninish, Songhie, Sanetch, Kwantlum, Teet, Nanaimo, Newchemass, Shimiahmoo, Nooksak, Samish, Skagit, Snohomish, Clallam, Toanhooch).
  • Puget Sound Group, Keane, App. Stanford’s Comp. (Cent. and So. Am.), 474, 1878 (comprises Nooksahs, Lummi, Samish, Skagits, Nisqually, Neewamish, Sahmamish, Snohomish, Skeewamish, Squanamish, Klallums, Classets, Chehalis, Cowlitz, Pistchin, Chinakum; all but the last being Salishan).
  • Flatheads, Keane, ibid., 474, 1878 (same as his Salish above).
  • Kawitshin, Tolmie and Dawson, Comp. Vocabs., 39, 1884 (vocabs. of Songis and Kwantlin Sept and Kowmook or Tlathool).
  • Qauitschin, Boas in Petermann’s Mitteilungen, 131, 1887.
  • Niskwalli, Tolmie and Dawson, Comp. Vocabs., 50, 121, 1884 (or Skwalliamish vocabulary of Sinahomish).

The extent of the Salish or Flathead family was unknown to Gallatin, as indeed appears to have been the exact locality of the tribe of which he gives an anonymous vocabulary from the Duponceau collection. The tribe is stated to have resided upon one of the branches of the Columbia River, “which must be either the most southern branch of Clarke’s River or the most northern branch of Lewis’s River.” The former supposition was correct. As employed by Gallatin the family embraced only a single tribe, the Flathead tribe proper. The Atnah, a Salishan tribe, were considered by Gallatin to be distinct, and the name would be eligible as the family name; preference, however, is given to Salish. The few words from the Friendly Village near the sources of the Salmon River given by Gallatin in Archæologia Americana, II, 1836, pp. 15, 306, belong under this family.

Geographic Distribution
Since Gallatin’s time, through the labors of Riggs, Hale, Tolmie, Dawson, Boas, and others, our knowledge of the territorial limits of this linguistic family has been greatly extended. The most southern outpost of the family, the Tillamook and Nestucca, were established on the coast of Oregon, about 50 miles to the south of the Columbia, where they were quite separated from their kindred to the north by the Chinookan tribes. Beginning on the north side of Shoalwater Bay, Salishan tribes held the entire northwestern part of Washington, including the whole of the Puget Sound region, except only the Macaw territory about Cape Flattery, and two insignificant spots, one near Port Townsend, the other on the Pacific coast to the south of Cape Flattery, which were occupied by Chimakuan tribes. Eastern Vancouver Island to about midway of its length was also held by Salishan tribes, while the great bulk of their territory lay on the mainland opposite and included much of the upper Columbia. On the south they were hemmed in mainly by the Shahaptian tribes. Upon the east Salishan tribes dwelt to a little beyond the Arrow Lakes and their feeder, one of the extreme north forks of the Columbia. Upon the southeast Salishan tribes extended into Montana, including the upper drainage of the Columbia. They were met here in 1804 by Lewis and Clarke. On the northeast Salish territory extended to about the fifty-third parallel. In the northwest it did not reach the Chilcat River.

Within the territory thus indicated there is considerable diversity of customs and a greater diversity of language. The language is split into a great number of dialects, many of which are doubtless mutually unintelligible.

The relationship of this family to the Wakashan is a very interesting problem. Evidences of radical affinity have been discovered by Boas and Gatschet, and the careful study of their nature and extent now being prosecuted by the former may result in the union of the two, though until recently they have been considered quite distinct.

Principal Tribes

Pend d’Oreilles
Sans Puell.

Population.—The total Salish population of British Columbia is 12,325, inclusive of the Bellacoola, who number, with the Hailtzuk, 2,500, and those in the list of unclassified, who number 8,522, distributed as follows:

Under the Fraser River Agency 4,986
  Kamloops Agency, 2,579
  Cowichan Agency, 1,852
  Okanagan Agency, 942
  Williams Lake Agency, 1,918
  Kootenay Agency, 48

Most of the Salish in the United States are on reservations. They number about 5,500, including a dozen small tribes upon the Yakama Reservation, which have been consolidated with the Clickatat (Shahaptian) through intermarriage.

The Salish of the United States are distributed as follows (Indian Affairs Report, 1889, and U.S. Census Bulletin, 1890):

Colville Agency, Washington  
  Coeur d’ Alene, 422
  Lower Spokane, 417
  Lake, 303
  Colville, 247
  Okinagan, 374
  Kespilem, 67
  San Pueblo (Sans Puell), 300
  Calispel, 200
  Upper Spokane, 170
Puyallup Agency, Washington  
  Quaitso, 82
  Quinaielt (Queniut), 101
  Humptulip, 19
  Puyallup, 563
  Chehalis, 135
  Nisqually, 94
  Squaxon, 60
  Clallam, 351
  Skokomish, 191
  Oyhut, Hoquiam, Montesano, and Satsup, 29
Tulalip Agency, Washington  
  Snohomish, 443
  Madison, 144
  Muckleshoot, 103
  Swinomish, 227
  Lummi, 295
Grande Ronde Agency, Oregon  
  Tillamook, 5

Indian Linguistic Families of America North of Mexico, 1891

Linguistic Families


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