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Wakashan Family

 Native American Nations | Linguistic Families                   

  • Wakash, Gallatin in Trans. and Coll. Am. Antiq. Soc., II, 15, 306, 1836 (of Nootka Sound; gives Jewitt’s vocab.). Gallatin in Trans. Am. Eth. Soc., II, pt. 1, 77, 1848 (based on Newittee). Berghaus (1851), Physik. Atlas, map 17, 1852. Gallatin in Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, III, 402, 1853 (includes Newittee and Nootka Sound). Latham in Trans. Philolog. Soc. Lond., 73, 1856 (of Quadra and Vancouver’s Island). Latham, Opuscula, 340, 1860. Latham, El. Comp. Phil., 403, 1862 (Tlaoquatsh and Wakash proper; Nutka and congeners also referred here).
  • Wakash, Latham, Nat. Hist. Man, 301. 1850 (includes Naspatle, proper Nutkans, Tlaoquatsh, Nittenat, Klasset, Klallems; the last named is Salishan).
  • Nootka-Columbian, Scouler in Jour. Roy. Geog. Soc., XI, 221, 1841 (includes Quadra and Vancouver Island, Haeeltzuk, Billechoola, Tlaoquatch, Kawitchen, Noosdalum, Squallyamish, Cheenooks). Prichard, Phys. Hist. Mankind, V, 435, 1847 (follows Scouler). Latham in Jour. Eth. Soc. Lond., I, 162, 1848 (remarks upon Scouler’s group of this name). Latham, Opuscula, 257, 1860 (the same).
  • Nootka, Hale in U.S. Expl. Exp., VI, 220, 569, 1846 (proposes family to include tribes of Vancouver Island and tribes on south side of Fuca Strait).
  • Nutka, Buschmann, Neu-Mexico, 329, 1858.
  • Nootka, Gatschet in Mag. Am. Hist., 170, 1877 (mentions only Makah, and Classet tribes of Cape Flattery). Gatschet in Beach, Ind. Misc., 446. 1877.
  • Nootkahs, Keane, App. Stanford’s Comp. (Cent. and So. Am.), 473, 1878 (includes Muchlahts, Nitinahts, Ohyahts, Manosahts, and Quoquoulths of present family, together with a number of Salishan tribes).
  • Nootka, Bancroft, Nat. Races, III, 564, 607, 1882 (a heterogeneous group, largely Salishan, with Wakashan, Skittagetan, and other families represented).
  • Straits of Fuca, Gallatin in Trans. and Coll. Am. Antiq. Soc., II, 134, 306, 1836 (vocabulary of, referred here with doubt; considered distinct by Gallatin).
  • Southern, Scouler in Jour. Roy. Geog. Soc., XI, 224, 1841 (same as his Noctka-Columbian above).
  • Insular, Scouler ibid. (same as his Nootka-Columbian above).
  • Haeltzuk, Latham in Jour. Eth. Soc. Lond., I, 155, 1848 (cities Tolmie’s vocab. Spoken from 50°30' to 53°30' N.L.). Latham, Opuscula, 251, 1860 (the same).
  • Haeeltsuk and Hailtsa, Latham, Nat. Hist. Man, 300, 1850 (includes Hyshalla, Hyhysh, Esleytuk, Weekenoch, Nalatsenoch, Quagheuil, Tlatla-Shequilla, Lequeeltoch).
  • Hailtsa, Latham in Trans. Philolog. Soc. Lond., 72, 1856. Buschmann, Neu-Mexico, 322, 1858. Latham, Opuscula, 339, 1860. Latham, El. Comp. Phil., 401, 1862 (includes coast dialects between Hawkesbury Island, Broughton’s Archipelago, and northern part of Vancouver Island).
  • Ha-eelb-zuk, Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, V, 487, 1855. Kane, Wand. of an Artist, app., 1859 (or Ballabola; a census of N.W. tribes classified by language).
  • Ha-ilt´-zukh, Dall, after Gibbs, in Cont. N.A. Eth., I, 144, 1877 (vocabularies of Bel-bella of Milbank Sound and of Kwákiutl’).
  • Nass, Gallatin in Trans. Am. Eth. Soc., II, pt 1, c, 1848.
  • Naass, Gallatin in Trans. Am. Eth. Soc., II, pt. 1, 77, 1848 (includes Hailstla, Haceltzuk, Billechola, Chimeysan). Gallatin in Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, III, 402, 1853 (includes Huitsla).
  • Nass, Bancroft, Nat. Races, III, 564, 606, 1882 (includes Hailtza of present family).
  • Aht, Sproat, Savage Life, app., 312, 1868 (name suggested for family instead of Nootka-Columbian).
  • Aht, Tolmie and Dawson, Comp. Vocabs., 50, 1884 (vocab. of Kaiookwaht).
  • Puget Sound Group, Keane, App. Stanford’s Comp. (Cent. and So. Am.), 460, 474, 1878.
  • Hydahs, Keane, App. Stanford’s Comp. (Cent. and So. Am.), 473, 1878 (includes Hailtzas of the present family).
  • Kwakiool, Tolmie and Dawson, Comp. Vocabs., 27-48, 1884 (vocabs. of Haishilla, Hailtzuk, Kwiha, Likwiltoh, Septs; also map showing family domain).
  • Kwa´kiutl, Boas in Petermann’s Mitteilungen, 130, 1887 (general account of family with list of tribes).

Derivation: Waukash, waukash, is the Nootka word “good” “good.” When heard by Cook at Friendly Cove, Nootka Sound, it was supposed to be the name of the tribe.

Until recently the languages spoken by the Aht of the west coast of Vancouver Island and the Makah of Cape Flattery, congeneric tribes, and the Haeltzuk and Kwakiutl peoples of the east coast of Vancouver Island and the opposite mainland of British Columbia, have been regarded as representing two distinct families. Recently Dr. Boas has made an extended study of these languages, has collected excellent vocabularies of the supposed families, and as a result of his study it is now possible to unite them on the basis of radical affinity. The main body of the vocabularies of the two languages is remarkably distinct, though a considerable number of important words are shown to be common to the two.

Dr. Boas, however, points out that in both languages suffixes only are used in forming words, and a long list of these shows remarkable similarity.

The above family name was based upon a vocabulary of the Wakash Indians, who, according to Gallatin, “inhabit the island on which Nootka Sound is situated.” The short vocabulary given was collected by Jewitt. Gallatin states103 that this language is the one “in that quarter, which, by various vocabularies, is best known to us.” In 1848104 Gallatin repeats his Wakash family, and again gives the vocabulary of Jewitt. There would thus seem to be no doubt of his intention to give it formal rank as a family.

The term “Wakash” for this group of languages has since been generally ignored, and in its place Nootka or Nootka-Columbian has been adopted. “Nootka-Columbian” was employed by Scouler in 1841 for a group of languages, extending from the mouth of Salmon River to the south of the Columbia River, now known to belong to several distinct families. “Nootka family” was also employed by Hale105 in 1846, who proposed the name for the tribes of Vancouver Island and those along the south side of the Straits of Fuca.

The term “Nootka-Columbian” is strongly condemned by Sproat.106 For the group of related tribes on the west side of Vancouver Island this author suggests Aht, “house, tribe, people,” as a much more appropriate family appellation.

Though by no means as appropriate a designation as could be found, it seems clear that for the so-called Wakash, Newittee, and other allied languages usually assembled under the Nootka family, the term Wakash of 1836 has priority and must be retained.

Geographic Distribution
The tribes of the Aht division of this family are confined chiefly to the west coast of Vancouver Island. They range to the north as far as Cape Cook, the northern side of that cape being occupied by Haeltzuk tribes, as was ascertained by Dr. Boas in 1886. On the south they reached to a little above Sooke Inlet, that inlet being in possession of the Soke, a Salishan tribe.

The neighborhood of Cape Flattery, Washington, is occupied by the Makah, one of the Wakashan tribes, who probably wrested this outpost of the family from the Salish (Clallam) who next adjoin them on Puget Sound.

The boundaries of the Haeltzuk division of this family are laid down nearly as they appear on Tolmie and Dawson’s linguistic map of 1884. The west side of King Island and Cascade Inlet are said by Dr. Boas to be inhabited by Haeltzuk tribes, and are colored accordingly.

Principal Aht Tribes


Population.—There are 457 Makah at the Neah Bay Agency, Washington.107 The total population of the tribes of this family under the West Coast Agency, British Columbia, is 3,160.108 The grand total for this division of the family is thus 3,617.

Principal Haeltzuk Tribes


Population.—There are 1,898 of the Haeltzuk division of the family under the Kwawkewlth Agency, British Columbia. Of the Bellacoola (Salishan family) and Haeltzuk, of the present family, there are 2,500 who are not under agents. No separate census of the latter exists at present.

Indian Linguistic Families of America North of Mexico, 1891

Linguistic Families


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