Chimakuan Indians

Chimakuan Family. A linguistic family of the N. W. coast, now represented by one small tribe, the Quileute, on the coast of Washington. There was formerly an eastern division of the family, the Chimakum, occupying the territory between Hood’s canal and Port Townsend, which is now probably extinct. The situation of these two tribes, as well as certain traditions, indicate that in former times the family may have been more powerful and occupied the entire region to the south of the strait of Juan de Fuca from which they were driven out by the Clallam and Makah. This, however, is uncertain. Within historic times the stock has consisted solely of the two small branches mentioned above. They have borne a high reputation among their Indian neighbors for warlike qualities, but for the greater part have always been on friendly terms with the whites. In customs the Quilente, or eastern Chimakuan, resembled the Makah and Nootka; all were whalers. The Chimakum, on the other hand, resembled the Clallam in customs. The Chimakuan dialects have not been thoroughly studied, but the material collected shows the language to be quite independent, though with certain phonetic and morphological relations to the Salish and Wakashan.


Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

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