Kwak̓wala

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Language Family: Wakashan

Dialects: Kwaḵ̓wala, Liḵ̓wala, 'Nak̕wala, G̱ut̕sala, T̕łat̕łasiḵ̕wala

Language known as: Kwakwaka'wakw, Kwakiutl

The Kwak̓wala A language is spoken by First Nations on northeastern Vancouver Island and the smaller islands and mainland directly to the east.

"Ever since the white people first came to our lands, we have been known as the Kwakkewlths by Indian Affairs or as the Kwakiutl by anthropologists. In fact we are the Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw, people who speak Kwakʼwala, but who live in different places and have different names for our separate groups."1

State of the Language


First Nation Population Fluent Speakers Understand or Speak Somewhat Learning Speakers
Da̱'naxda̱'xw / A̱waetla̱la̱21743834
Dzawada̱ʼenux̱w (Tsawataineuk)45087536
G̱usgimukw (Quatsino First Nation)5516171149
Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw First Nation685121210120
Gwawaʼenux̱w7401280
K'ómoks First Nation83231420
Kwakiutl Band Council9780105563
Kwiakah First Nation1019130
Ḵwikwa̱sutinux̱ / Ha̱'xwa-mis1127382050
Ławitʼsis (Tlowitsis)37112unknownunknownunknown
Mama̱liliḵa̱la / Qwe'Qwa'Sot'Em13350204025
ʼNa̱mǥis First Nation1417003545100
T̕łat̕łasiḵ̕wala4915unknownunknownunknown
Wei Wai Kum First Nation16758126897
We Wai Kai First Nation1710061127172
Total7718163499736

Dialects

Kwaḵ̓wala

The name of the Kwak̓wala dialect has been used for the whole language but this dialect is not spoken by all the First Nations that speak the language. The Kwak̓wala dialect is spoken in Alert Bay, Kincome Inlet, and Gilford Island.

Liḵ̓wala


This dialect has been called: Liq̓ʷala B, Lekwiltok

Liḵ̓wala is spoken by the Weḵaʼyi (We Wai Kai C) and Wiweḵʼa̱m (Wei Wai Kum D) peoples in the area of Campbell River and Quadra Island.

'Nak̕wala E


This dialect has been called: Northern Kwak̓wala

The 'Nak̕wala dialect is spoken by the 'Nak̕waxda'x̱w and Gwa'sa̱la peoples.

G̱ut̕sala F


This dialect has been called: Quatsino Sound

The G̱ut̕sala dialect is spoken in the Quatsino Sound area by the Gwa'sala people from Smiths Inlet and the 'Nakwaxda'xw people from Blunden Harbour. These two groups have come together as the Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw G at Port Hardy.

T̕łat̕łasiḵ̕wala H


This dialect has been called: Nahwitti

T̕łat̕łasiḵ̕wala is spoken by the T̕łat̕łasiḵ̕wala people (Tlatlasikwala First Nation) on Hope Island.

Footnotes / References
1. copied from U'mista Cultural Society
2. Language Data from Da'naxda'xwaetlala First Nation (2006), Language Needs Assessment #821
3. Registered Populatio as reported in Aboriginal Canada - Connectivity Profile
4. Language Data from Lilawagila School / Dzawada'enuxw First Nation (2014), Language Needs Assessment #3304
5. Language Data from Quatsino First Nation (2014), Language Needs Assessment #3375
6. Language Data from Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw Nation (2014), Language Needs Assessment #3247
7. Language Data from Gwawaenuk Finance Office (2014), Language Needs Assessment #3320
8. Language Data from Upper Island Women of Native Ancestry (2014), Language Needs Assessment #3234
9. Language Data from Kwakiutl Band (2014), Language Needs Assessment #2005
10. Language Data from Kwiakah Indian Band (2012), Language Needs Assessment #2699
11. Language Data from Gilford Island Soccer Club (2014), Language Needs Assessment #3187
12. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (2008). First Nation Registered Population.
13. Language Data from First Nation (2013), Language Needs Assessment #2932
14. Language Data from Sanala Research Team - 'Namgis First Nation (2014), Language Needs Assessment #3207
15. Aboriginal Canada (2006). First Nation Connectivity Profiles.
16. Language Data from Campbell River Indian Band (2014), Language Needs Assessment #3151
17. Language Data from Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre (2014), Language Needs Assessment #3224

Audio Clip References
A. Kwak̓wala - Hunt, L. (2008, Aug. 27). Interview with Lorraine Hunt.
B. Liq̓ʷala - Hunt, L. (2008, Aug. 27). Interview with Lorraine Hunt.
C. We Wai Kai - Hunt, L. (2008, Aug. 27). Interview with Lorraine Hunt.
D. Wei Wai Kum - Hunt, L. (2008, Aug. 27). Interview with Lorraine Hunt.
E. 'Nak̕wala - Hunt, L. (2008, Aug. 27). Interview with Lorraine Hunt.
F. G̱ut̕sala - Hunt, L. (2008, Aug. 27). Interview with Lorraine Hunt.
G. Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw - Hunt, L. (2008, Aug. 27). Interview with Lorraine Hunt.
H. T̕łat̕łasiḵ̕wala - Hunt, L. (2008, Aug. 27). Interview with Lorraine Hunt.