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"...pronounced Kwa-gyu-th"[edit]

Tsk tsk...nonstandard pronunciation guide. I would imagine "Kwaikiutl" is pronounced something like /kʷaikiutɬ/, but I don't really know. If anyone else does know, please do change it; ultimately, though, I guess it's not actually a big deal, in the scheme of things. And I don't want to edit it without knowing how it really is pronounced. --Whimemsz 05:35, August 3, 2005 (UTC)

Don't even try your own IPA on that one; and actually I think it's closer to Kwagyulh as already in the article; Kwak'wala sounds are diabolical in their subtlety and the difficulty by which they translate to English-friendly transliterations; hence Laich-kwil-tach vs Yuculta or Euclataws, the historic-literature names for them; even though, oddly, Laich-kwil-tach looks remarkably Gaelic in flavour, as if by accident. I think I might have a source/ref on the proper IPA and somewhere in my mailboxes is an old correspondent who was a doc student who was Kwakwaka'wakw but living in Seattle; she or someone like her in my files should be able to help. And besides, it's not "Kwaikiutl" anyway; it's "Kwakiutl" and that happens to be preferred by the Fort Rupert people or someone else up that way; it gets complicated and I can never remember who's who.Skookum1 10:32, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

Okay. Thanks for the info. (I keep misspelling it as "Kwaikiutl." Damn.) --Whimemsz 00:13, 16 November 2005 (UTC)
Any assistance in pronouncing Kwakwaka'wakw (or writing it in a way that more closely reflects the actual pronunciation, assuming that "Kwakwaka'wakw" doesn't) would be appreciated, if merely for personal edification. I find that if I try to pronounced it the way it is written, I start to squawk like a chicken. (talk) 07:15, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
I've never heard the language, and my only Wakashan material is on Nuuchahnulth, but the name in its full orthography is Kwakwa̱ka̱'wakw / Kʷakʷəkəw̓akʷ. That is, maybe it's something like "kwow-kwə-ko-wwowk", where "wow" is like English "wow" and the "ww" is a tense [w]. That is, I'm guessing that a ‹kw› makes a preceding ‹a› sound a bit like English cow, but there are lots of languages that don't do that, so maybe it's more like kwah-kwə-kə-wwahkw. And for all I know, the sounds like "coe" or "caw" (if you don't rhyme caught and cot): There's been some speculation that Kwak'wala [o] is underlyingly /əw/, so it's possible that /ə/ is pronounced [o] before a w. (And even if it isn't, English oh is pretty close to [əw], so pronouncing it like the co- in cooperate is not a bad bet.)
BTW, this (squawking like a chicken) is exactly why I prefer "Kwakiutl" in English, besides its familiarity. Though, come to think of it, "Kwakiutl" does sound a bit like "cock-a-doodle", but I've never thought of it that way: as a kid, I always thought it was an impressive name. — kwami (talk) 06:42, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
Not if you were 'Namgis or Danaxdaxw, it would be a denigration, kinda (the Kwagyulh are a lower-ranked group within Kwakwaka'wakw society. Similar to "Nootka" now no longer being appropriate, and never having been correct in the first place ,for Nuu-chah-nulth (which is a '70s vintage coinage; teh older ethnographic term is "Aht", though most common usage for all from Nitinat and Pacheena up to Kyuquot was "Nootka", which if used at all should mean only the Mowachaht (of Yuquot)/Friendly Cove on Nootka Sound). And Kwakiutl isn't pronounced anyway as it's generally said in English and otehr languages; that /tl/ is really an [lh] and the second 'k' is an intervocalic, semi-guttural 'g'; and it's only the name of one subgroup, and the term is resented by those in the other groups as marking them with the name of a lower...caste, though tha'ts not quite the right Kwakwaka'wakw is now standard in BC style guides and it's politically sensitive to use the other one, though it occurs in organization names, book titles, and still exists in other langauges; but not acceptable in modern CAnadian English, and sure to give offence.Skookum1 (talk) 07:09, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Hello, I'm new to editing wikis, so please help/forgive me. I'm a linguist, and based on what I've read, Kwakwaka'wakw is pronounced something like [kʷɑˈkʷəkʲəˌw̓ɑkʷ], roughly equivanlent to kwah-KWƏK-yə-wahk. Should I add this to the main article, along with the relevant citations? A recording of this term as pronounced by a native speaker would also be useful, if anyone has one. sixbladeknife (talk) 21:06, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

Oweeykyala link? and Kwakiutl disambig[edit]

Um, I see there's a Wakashan language link; I'm always vague on the boundary bewtween Kwak'wala speaking peoples and their northern neighbours, who are also Wakashan and similar in language to Kwak'wala (moreso than Nuu-chah-nulth or Makah, which are also Wakashan); just figure they should be linked here somehow. Ultimately Kwakiutl has to become a disambiguation page because of the other flavours of Kwakiutl than the Kwakwaka'wakw group; who are the largest, but the term has strong political/organizational associations, which is why I created Laich-kwil-tach and will get around to Kwagyulh and others when I get the chance.Skookum1 10:32, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

Image:Haida Totem pole.jpg[edit]

I know that Image:Haida Totem pole.jpg features a Kwakwaka'wakw big house, but is the totel pole from the same nation? If so, the image could be featured here. -- TheMightyQuill 14:18, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

No, totally absolutely not. You'd offend the Kwakwaka'wakw majorly by doing that, too. Totem poles are badges of chiefly/noble lineage and community legacy, much like an escutcheon/coat-of-arms; it would be like putting the coat of arms of Bosnia on a Croat or Serb castle, or expecting an American household to be happy having a Union Jack on the lawn instead of the Stars and Stripes; although the old animosities on the Coast are long-gone. There's also a huge difference in the art style between Haida and Kwakiutl styles; Haida have deeper, almost 3-d bas reliefs and different tastes in colour; Kwakiutl still have some relief, and all the formality and fantastic design of the northern coastal styles (compare Nootka and southern Coast Salish artwork, which are more naturalistic, to Tsimshian or Haida or Tlingit or Bella Coola); the Kwakiutl tend also to have large elaborate house-front paintings; a picture of one of those at the great potlatches at Mameleliqula or Namgis or Alert Bay would be most appropriate maybe; but certainly nothing from Haida or Nootka or Tsimshian or Bella Coola. Tell ya what, somewhere around here I've got either/both a postcard of Alert Bay or/and amateur photos of people standing on Alert Bay's boardwalks, which were lined with houseposts and totems in the old days (my Mom worked there in 1946). That would at least by the art style, although I can think that one set of the pictures is rather unfortunate; Mom worked as girl's counsellor at the residential school (she's never said exactly what/why, but she quit the place after about six months in an argument over the way the girls under her care were being treated....) and there were a famous pair of thunderbird totems at its entrance ; I have a picture or two of a school parade marching through them; most of these students were not Kwakwa-ka'wakw but from other regions so it's not suitable for a Kwakwa-ka'wakw picture and it would be better to have a village-housefront picture, I think; or something from Curtis' collection if there's anything public domain there (?). NB by the way the article does mention Curtis' film, doesn't it?Skookum1 14:34, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

There's been some confusion over that image recently... it turns out that both the pole and the house are Kwakwaka'wakw and not Haida. An anon editor pointed this out on the Canada article. I looked into it, and ended up creating the Thunderbird Park article using official park refs. User:HighInBC took some higher res images at the park... check it out. He took a higher res image of the same scene (almost) where a Haida pole is visible on the edge - I'm going to add the original image to the article for now. heqs 16:40, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
Going to wait til its correctly named before adding it. heqs 17:14, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
Well, as far as naming it goes, if HighInBC can go ask the Thunderbird Park curator, he might even be able to get the proper name of the pole itself (they all have names, those big long hyphenated wordstrings of names, much like chiefly names).Skookum1 17:47, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
Here's what it says on the official site of the park:
"Kwakwaka'wakw Heraldic Pole, 1953. Carvers: [Chief] Mungo Martin, David Martin and Mildred Hunt. The pole is in front of Wawadit'la, the bighouse built by Mungo Martin in Thunderbird Park and opened in 1953. Rather than display his own crests on the pole, which was customary, Martin chose to include crests representing the A'wa'etlala, Kwagu'l, 'Nak'waxda'xw and 'Namgis Nations. In this way, the pole represents and honours all the Kwakwaka'wakw people."
The house, on the other hand, "bears on its house-posts the hereditary crests of Martin's family." Continues to be used for ceremonies with the permission of Chief Oast'akalagalis 'Walas 'Namugwis (Peter Knox, Martin's grandson) and Mable Knox, including a large feast on the 50th anniversary of the house that was attended by many First Nations and non-First Nations dignitaries. heqs 18:19, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
Those accreditations should be mentioned in a paragraph in the article, since they're too unwieldy for a caption.Skookum1 21:59, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

Image:Haida Totem pole.jpg has been deleted and moved to Image:Kwakwaka'wakw house and pole at Thunderbird Park.jpg on commons. heqs 11:35, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Image:Totem RMBC 2.jpg[edit]

This image is actually pretty good - there is only a sliver of a Haida pole over on the right. It seems like it would be okay to include this - the house and 3 Kwakwaka'wakw poles are very prominently displayed. But, we could crop out the Haida pole completely if necessary. heqs 18:30, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

Image added with endnote per above discussion. heqs 12:45, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

Origin of the name Kwakiutl[edit]

When I attended a Royal Roads University workshop offered in Alert Bay 2 years ago. The local Namgis (or 'Nimpkish') explained why they (at Alert Bay) were not 'Kwakiutl'. The tribe located further north at Fort Rupert (present day Port Hardy) are called the Kwakiutl. The British-Canadians that settled at Fort Rupert began to referring to all the First Nations people in the region as Kwakiutl after the name of the local tribe they had the most contact with. In the recent times the First Nations themselves began to revert back to the original names they had used for themselves.

Therefore, the current Kwakiutl tribe/region is a sub-group within the Kwakwaka'wakw territory. Wikipedia_V.I. 00:20, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

  • Pasco, Juanita. The Living World: Plants and Animals of the Kwakwaka'wakw U'mista Cultural Society, 1998

Fine; but the issue is that the standard English for this group of peoples is Kwakiutl, not Kwakawkaw'wakw. And it wasn't "British-Canadians" who settled at Fort Rupert who coined/adopted the term, it was anthropologists (from Europe, not Britain or Canada). "British-Canadians" smacks of one of those ethnic-condemnnation terms like "Euro-American" and "European" (meaning Brits and all other white peoples as if they were all the same). And of course the Laich-kwil-tach use "Southern Kwakiutl"; and from what I gather the Fort Rupert/Port Hardy bunch aren't part of the Kwakwaka'wakw political organization; they may be a subroup of the Kwakwala speaking peoples, but from what I know/understand they're not part of the organization called Kwakwaka'wakw that includes Namgis, Mamelilaculla and other Queen Charlotte Strait "Kwakiutl"; if Kwakwaka'wakw weren't the name of a political organization and was an ethnolinguistic term only it would help in Kwakwaka'wakw becoming a standard English word; it's not, and if people look up the Namgis in places like NYC or LA they're mostly likely to search for "Kwakiutl", whether the folks in Alert Bay like it or not. Same as with "Lillooet" for the St'at'imc or Nuu-chah-nulth for the Nootka; misapprehensions of names, rather than proper names. But it's tit for tat; Straits/River Salish people call white people hwelitum in their language (hungry people), and St'at'imc call us sama7 - but that's not our name; it's our name in that language though.

Not meaning to put you down and I appreciate having someone who's been in Kwak'wala speaking country to maybe flesh out the many stubs in that area. But please be advised there should be a distinction between ethnographic articles, pure linguistics articles, political organizations, community articles and specific band/national government articles. So in the case of Namgis/Alert Bay there'd be an ethnography of the Namgis, a reference to the Kwakwala language/linguistics page (with any relevant notes on Namgis), Kwakwaka'wakw as an organization which Namgis belongs to, an article on the town of Alert Bay (including its non-native residents) and an article on the Namgis band/tribal government. See Wikipedia:Wikiproject Indigenous peoples of North America (talk page) for discussion of why and wherefore. And please contribute, period.Skookum1 04:13, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

I can see you have a strong emotional attachment to this subject.
Interesting bit about who exactly came up with the name Kwakiutl/Kwagiulth. The representatives at the Umista centre felt it necessary to explain the origins of the label Kwakiutl. As to who? Perhaps I misunderstood them. Regardless, thanks for the clarification and “feedback”.
And I will endeavour to “contribute, period!” Cheers, Wikipedia_V.I. 07:57, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

What I meant by that is an exhortation to fellow BC Wikipedians to really try and document the place, and in cases like this one to engage in encylopedia-format categorization that will have a common struture with related articles elsewhere; whether it's geographic items, even stubs, on placenames and geographic features, towns, communities, sights of interest, or ethnic/national systems like the Indigenous peoples Wikiproject, and a startup (not yet official) Wikiproject BC, which if you're interested in checking out I'll get you the link (it's on someone's "sandbox" page), given the existence of parallel projects so far in Alaska and Oregon and, I think, Washington. The cross-border, multi-national nature of the Indigenous peoples Wikiproject is important because of the diversity and complexity of the subject matter, which to my knowledge has never before been set out before the public in such an extension fashion. Likewise BC history, my own pet area (although you'd think I was heart and soul on the Indigenous project by my previous post, but that's just natural thoroughness and trying to keep a slowly-established systematization of the articles going (within the Project/Encyclopedia). There's a lot of interesting work going on all over the place in that project; anything you have on archaeological or current village sites, clam gardens, a better write-up on the potlatch, and so on; the Americans have been fairly thorough with the Native American pages; it's surprising how much less there is in Canada, given that there's as many First Nations people as there are Native Americans, and the level of political organization and information in Canada. But as you know, it's a tangled web in BC both historically and currently, and Wiki is an interesting arena to sort out what's what and who's who and derive some common story for the place. That it's publicly written and edited makes it all the more interesting/exciting, doncha think?

So forgive the verbal passion, please; and it's more intellectually involved than emotionally involved, though I do confess to finding myself stoked on large projects I've worked on for a while (not just on Wiki, I mean in general); e.g. where I was an editor for quite a few years on next-to-no pay, near full-time; I write in musical mode or stream-of-consciousness or something like that (I'm typing as fast as I think for one thing, so volumes of text are not meant to be overbearing, more like extended narration/conversation).

Anyway, about this Kwakwaka'wakw thing, if YOU can help ME sort out the what and where, or help me find someone from the North Island who's interested in fleshing out Wiki's coverage of that area, even just the First Nations culture/political/community structure, that would be great. I revised what had been here originally going largely by what I knew from writings on general BC history and your usual coverage available in BC op-ed history/politics/whatever articles; I absorb everything I read, y'see....anyway I "winged it" when I rewrote the page, partly because I was intending on immediate inclusions of the Laich-kwil-tach and Kwagyulh references, i.e. Campbell River and Fort Rupert, which AFAIK were not included in the Kwakwa'wakw political organization, and historically were rivals, when not actual enemies. It's that kind of complexity, historical and modern, that's difficult to lay out clearly for the average reader; I run into the same thing with the fragmentation of the St'at'imc into three or more separate political bodies, their outermost sub-bands also members of adjoining nations (Pavilion to Secwepemc and Douglas to Sto:lo); and across the Secwepemc, Okanagan, Chilcotin and Carrier turf there's a complexity to which people are part of which band are part of which tribal/government organization are part of which community; that's why all the separate articles. Same as in the US, where there are multi-tribal agencies, and also different organizations for different groups of the same peoples (ethnographically and/or linguistically); then there's the extinct peoples/languages, mythologies, chiefly lineages (if any), governmental structure (the clan houses of this region, the Council of Women of the Haudenosaunee; or one government within the agency/community, another tribal organization of some component of that community/agency allied with other related peoples on other agencies. It's really a mess, which of course is a product of the history that was committed upon them; another factor, as I'm finding out in some areas of BC, is "western" ideas of "chiefs" and "bands" aren't quite equivalent to what the historic differences were; see Somena, although the writer of that page is more indulging in native politics than history; she raises the point that governmental/social structures outside the boundaries of English. Ditto with situation between Kwagyulh, Kwakwaka'wakw and Laich-kwil-tach; Kwakwaka'wakw as a one-word title should probably be the ethno article, as it means "speakers of Kwakw'ala") and some term like "nation" or "government" (small-case) should be appended for the Kwakwaka'wakw as a political organization and cultural/historical unit/group of units. I'm not sure that Kwagyulh are included; they weren't, and historically their ties are to the Laich-kwil-tach, who were their closest king (before migrating south the Southern Kwakiutl had lived up past Fort Rupert).

The "British-Canadians" who named/established Fort Rupert were Royal Navy, Hudson's Bay personnel (a handful), the mission (when there was one), any resident anthropologist, and not a few coal miners; there was a famous strike there in early colonial days; before the founding of the mainland colony as I recall. Between the valuable/strategic coal seams (which could not be left open to the Russians, theoretically under European law entitled also to colonize/trade along the coast until 1858 or so, and militarily the Royal Navy could not leave the upper approaches to the Johnstone Strait undefended; and some redoubt was needed in potentially hostile country in waters far away and isolated from Victoria/Esquimalt....

Sorry to blog; just trying to explain myself, and also encourage you to see the potential scope of contributions needed for BC material, or for whatever your own interests are. Historically Wikipedia is unique, I think; even more than the net itself, as it marks the coalescence of mutually-written history, politics, culture and more and is able to encompass whatever obscure and hopefully meaningful details of human history, culture and science there are. It's one huge document, but collectively please, add/discuss as you have time. I obviously have too much ;-)Skookum1 01:12, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

I didn't read everything that's been said, but calling this Indigenous nation Kwakiutl, for the entire group, is similar to hitting Nova Scotia first, then calling all Canadian's "Nova Scotians". Even if the southern nations in Campbell River and Cape Mudge have a difference in the language "dialect", they still consider themselves apart of the Kwakwaka'wake in generel. (Inless there is documentation to prove otherwise? OldManRivers 00:48, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Kwakwaka'wakw big house[edit]

Kwakwaka'wakw big house.jpg

This image is currently a featured picture candidate. Due to a large influx of new candidates there are very few votes for this image. If you have an opinion on this image please go to Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates/Kwakwaka'wakw big house and cast your vote. HighInBC 13:29, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

Kwakwaka'wakw <=> Kwakiutl merge issues/poll[edit]

Since this merge tag has been posted here's some considerations:

  • Kwakwaka'wakw means "speakers of Kwak'wala"
  • Kwakwaka'wakw is used as an organizational name by the Kwakwaka'wakw (i.e. there would have to be at least two articles by that name).
  • Kwakiutl is used in ethography to describe the whole culture/language group/area; as such its name is based on that of the Kwagyuilh of Namgis (Fort Rupert), who are not part of the Kwakwaka'wakw pan-tribal organization. The Kwagyuilh/Namgis are historically linked to the Southern Kwakiutl of Campbell River and the Johnstone Strait and environs the Laich-kwil-tach which is the latest spelling of Euclataws or Yucultas), and both groups are speakers of Kwak'wala - small-k kwakwaka'wakw, as it were, but not part of the Kwakwaka'wakw tribal alliance/organization.
  • Kwakiutl in English usage has also been (incorrectly) used to include Oweekyala and Haisla and others as "Northern Kwakiutl"
  • the usual English name for these people is Kwakiutl, not Kwakwaka'wakw. In British Columbia if someone were to say in English "I'm Kwakwaka'wakw" they would be from the central organization (non-Laich-kwil-tach/non-Kwagyuilh) if they were to use it. Because they're speaking English they might more readily say Kwakiutl

There's other issues that'll come to mind, but there's an outline. I'd say merge so long as the title is Kwakiutl as a dab page; as there's gonna be Kwakiutl people, Kwakiutl language (exists and relays to Kwak'wala, Kwakiutl tribal organizations (including Kwakwaka'wakw, which the primary article for should be the organizaiton, with an italicized intro saying what it means and referring to the Kwakiutl page), other pages might be Kwakiutl art/culture etc; an explanation in the opening paragraph about how the adopted use from ethnography and government as "Kwakiutl" has become standard in English (like it or not) but was mistakenly a name for one group applied across the board (as with Nootka vs. Nuu-chah-nulth, historically the correct pan-name for them was "Aht", however). Kwakiutl itself seems to be most likely a dab page (see Chilcotin, Shuswap etc).Skookum1 07:58, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

In British Columbia if someone were to say in English "I'm Kwakwaka'wakw" they would be from the central organization (non-Laich-kwil-tach/non-Kwagyuilh)
I'm not sure about this line. Many who apart of the southren group still consider themselves apart of the Kwakwaka'wakw. Kwakwaka'wakw isn't a poliical organzation, but a cultural/social one having to do with the whole "Kwakiutl" mixup done by textbooks and Anthropologists. Even historicaly, the tribal potlaching ranks has all the nations in rank (Fort Rupert first, Village Island second, Nimpkish third, etc.) OldManRivers 00:48, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, actually it's discussed in detail in Chiefly Feasts, which is where I became aware of the difference. I think it's necessary at least, then, to have an ethno/people page for "Kwa'kwala speakers" (as translated) and a separate page for the organization using Kwakawkaw'akw in its name, with the distinction clearly stated in a dab line at the top of the page (one of those italicized things that says "this page is for xxxx; for yyyy go see zzzz"). BTW when you make a post here, use a colon for each indent; otherwise leaving a space undoes the word-wrap.Skookum1 01:04, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. Getting the hang of thinigs, sorta. OldManRivers 05:32, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Because they're speaking English they might more readily say Kwakiutl - That hasn't been my experience at all; from the children and counselers at historic Camp Nor'wester (which has had extremely close ties with the Kwakwaka'wakw since the late 1930s and perform traditional dances, and potlatches and songs to this day) to native residents of the Pacific Northwest to University historians, I've only ever heard "Kwakwaka'wakw" (pronounced KWA KWA KYA WOWKW, the last syllable as a short exhaled breath). I believe the people themselves also much prefer it to

"Kwakiutl." Inkgod 11:17, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

I agree. I think Kwakwaka'wakw is heard more. Maybe not in text books, but it is the now identified group of all the Kwak'wala speaking peoples. There are ties between all the Kwakwaka'wakw nations (The Kwagiutl, the Namgis, the Danaxwdaxw, etc.) This included the Cape Mudge and Campbell River nations. Kwagiutl should be the page for the people of Fort Rupert OldManRivers 08:40, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
I still think that Kwakiutl should at least remain a disambiguation page because of the existence of the Kwakiutl District Council and also Kwakiutl First Nation government articles. See next for related tribal council question.Skookum1 22:42, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

To complicate matters, I just followed the Kwak'wala link while breaking up the various Haisla, Ooweykala and Heiltsuk content into their respective lang/gov/ethno redirects to Kwakiutl language. The page was authored by User:Bill Poser of the Yinka Dene Language Institute, who I don't think likes me '=| so doubtless any name change there might involve some crossed swords; Kwak'wala is gaining increasing currency in British Columbia English as the name for this language, I can't speak for outside of BC; so maybe to satisfy Kwakwaka'wakw objections to the use of Kwakiutl in the title of Kwakiutl language it should be renamed to Kwak'wala, with Kwakiutl language as the redirect. I'll leave it to one of the more diplomatically-tongued among us to approach Mr. Poser and give him a heads-up about the change and the why and the wherefore, and also to let him know of the ongoing break-out of separate language, nation/government, nation/ethnocultural and other categories of FN articles, from what are typically at present only one article, sometimes two...this is being applied BC-wide, which should be of interest to YDLI's languages links on their own pages, and hopefully is a useful tool for further expansion/coordination of both First Nations languages articles and the overall organization of BC First Nations articles. I'd also suggest that Category:Languages of British Columbia should come into being, as we've got at least 60% of the languages potentially in Category:Languages of Canada.....Skookum1 06:14, 21 January 2007 (UTC) refers to the language as Kwak'wala, and presumably they're reliable and consultative on these matters. Based on what I've heard here and elsewhere, I'd opt to go with Kwak'wala for language with a Kwakiutl redirect page, and an ('also referred to as...') blurb in the first line of article. Quite simply, 'Kwakiutl' is becoming more obsolete among the people who use it most, from my experience.--Keefer4 04:50, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
Disamig this page with all the related Kwagiutl related articles (Language, the people, the Kwakwaka'wakw, and government pages.) OldManRivers 21:45, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Kwakwaka'wakw Tribal Councils?[edit]

Partly re the previous discussion, I'm wondering if there's a tribal council affiliation for non-Kwakiutl District Council Kwakwaka'wakw governments; here is a listing from the "Kwakwaka'wakw First Nations, Alert Bay" item in the External links section (which is actually adspam for a tour company and should probably be removed and replaced by a listing of all Kwakwaka'wakw governments. Redlinks following of course are not made yet, not even as stubs (which is all there is for the bluelinked ones....): spellings may not be right/appropriate here also as the preference of the government in question should be used, if different:

User:OldManRivers has also observed, and I concur that {{tl:First Nations on Vancouver Island}} should be broken up by nation, as in ethnic group, and that the various First Nations templates (see [[:Category:First Nations governments in British Columbia}} should not be derived from Indian Act-based governmental divisions incl. Tribal Councils and Treaty Councils, but defined again according to ethnic/nation grouping; otherwise some independent/unaffiliated bands/peoples/communities do not appear on the templates, including perhaps the non-Kwakiutl District Council bands/governments listed above. Note in all cases that the same title without "First Nation" or "Nation" or "Indian Band" attached should be history/culture articles, while those with "First Nation" etc. should be government articles (which is how I've written the stubs for the ones extant); actual village/reserver articles fall again in a different category...(see talkpage at Sto:lo and also Talk:Gitxsan.Skookum1 22:42, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

First, thanks for your work on this. It's all rather complicated, and clear information is hard to come by. I'm with you up until your idea of dropping "nation" from history/culture articles. In North America, we tend to see the words "country" and "nation" (and even government) as synonymous, but nation refers to a people as well. Why not leave nation on the articles about the people, and attach the word Council when you want to talk about the government. That would be the clearest, no? - TheMightyQuill 00:06, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm going to play the wikipeida card on that... Simply: it's not neutral (haha, been waiting to use that argument). At least, it doesn't seem neutral to me. We're talking about the people, and although this is a "English-language-wiki", the "Dzawada'enuxw" should be that. The article does not say "Canada Nation" or "Canada Colonial Government", although there are pages for "Canadian Senate with Senate of Canada at the top. Although technically "nation's" in it's sense of the word, we're talking about the people that exist and have existed for thousands of years. Although it's different between the nation-state of Canada and the Indigenous nations in BC, or otherwise, it's the cultural history, ethno article. Canadian, Canada are directed to the same page. 'Namgis, Skwxwu7mesh, or what ever is the same as "Canada", where the villages are like Provinces, and clans are like reigions, and families are like municipalities. ((I believe this makes Kwakwaka'wakw and Nuu-chan-nuth continents in this analogy) It's a very awful way to explain it. (It's like describing the potlatch are a big native garage puke]], but you get the idea. I agree with you, they are nations, but in terms of encyclopedia format, and creating more legiable and comprehensive pages for the Indigenous people, with regards to social, economic, politics, art, intellectual and military (or warrior societies), it's should be treated similarly across the board. For me it makes sense, but, I like how User:Skookum1 one is going with it. OldManRivers 05:59, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
With OldManRivers here. I think the Nisga'a title model is a sound one, in that the tag of First Nation or 'Nation' shouldn't be used for the history/culture article titles. Like he says, we don't use 'Canada Nation' and anything less would indeed be unequal. The text within the article should properly convey the concept of the 'nation', without needing it in the title, same goes for settlements-- 'band' should never be in a settlement title, for example. Not sure if it actually is anywhere but if so, tsk tsk. As for the 'Band governments' or Councils articles, they should obviously include the appropriate/applicable reference to their status as an administrative entity.--Keefer4 05:05, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
There's an interesting exception to this dichotomy in the case of the Nisga'a Lisims, which is now both the constitutional/legal government of the Nisga'a as well as, from what I understand, the embodiment of the traditional government. It's like the distinction between Gingolx and Kincolith, sort of; or more between the former Kincolith First Nation and its IRs vs. the new Gingolx traditional-body (NB, Gingolx, British Columbia would still be a separate location article, under the schema...and Kincolith and the other IRs/band councils should still have articles as things that existed, rather than things that do exist....); so while there still should be an article on the now-historical Nisga'a Nation/Nisga'a First Nation, i.e. the Indian Act creation/embodiment, that's different from the Nisga'a Lisims, which is both the current government as well as the traditional one....??? There are "parallel" bodies like the K'omoks Laich-kwil-tach Council of Chiefs, which parallel traditional forms but are made up of Indian Act creations, but......damn it's complicated, huh? But worth sorting out, and this effort might be the first time there's a coordinated representation of the whole schmeer anywhere, once it's all done....Skookum1 05:27, 27 January 2007 (UTC)


I humbly request if someone could help me out with pictures. I want to get a few more pictures, perhaps a black and white photo of something to do with the potlatch. I would also like to ask if someone could make a map of Kwakwaka'wakw territory? If you follow this link [], on page 5 of the pdf, there is a map of the languages. It's most accurate for the Kwakwaka'wakw as a whole too. I would make it myself, but I don't know how. Thanks OldManRivers 18:10, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

I'll pass that on to a mapmaker at the pacNW project; see near the bottom of my talkpage for a new BC basemap he's created.Skookum1 (talk) 15:53, 3 May 2008 (UTC)


OMR knows what this is; an important and very ancient eulachon-fishing station on teh Klinaklini River; this is an article request re t'lina (the Kwakwaka'wakw version of Eulachon grease); a list of important community/fishing/other Kwakwaka'wwakw sites here would help, i.e to give an idea what's yet needed in t he way of articles; Dzawadli just seems particularly important....Skookum1 (talk) 15:53, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Nobles, commoner and slaves[edit]

En route to the next section, just a quick note to suggest the kwak'wala worde for them. And PS about hte capitalization of Kwak'wala, which I know isn't preferred within Kwaki'wala, is a standard in English for proper names of languages; so for consistency cap'd that even though I realize, like Skwxwu7mesh placenames etc the caps aren't correct; in those languages, but they are in English, if words/names are used in English.Skookum1 (talk) 01:18, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Rez schools[edit]

The use of Kwak'wala declined significantly in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, mainly due to the assimilationist policies of the Canadian government, and above all the mandatory attendance of Kwakwa'wakw children at residential schools.

A couple of ancillary points to pin onto that, but I don't have cites at the moment:

....where students were beaten if caught speaking Kwak'wala or other languages, including the Chinook Jargon, which had become a secret language in the schools linking children of different linguistic backgrounds, after originally being introduced and populated by the same churches who ran them (well, Catholic schools anyway, can't say for Anglican etc). The Jargon was once widely spoken as a second mother tongue within Kwakwaka'wakw territories - some of the only published recordings of British Columbia Chinook usage are of Mungo Martin - although it is largely forgotten now (though in some areas of BC it nearly supplanted the traditional languages altogether until its use was discouraged by language departmsnts.

That was all part of discussions at various Chinuk Lu?lu's and I think some might be found in Holton's book or in Glavin & Lillard; any more of what I might say would be OR (unless I ever publish, or someone does on certain topics). The addition about CJ in the schools doesn't have to be as lengthy as I've just laid out; but language suppression shoudl be mentioend, as well as the pressure from CJ use in teh schools and back home. Another suggested clause/idea:

....[sent to residential schools], often far outside Kwakwaka'wakw territory and among school populations of widely varied linguistic backgrounds.

A similar topic, maybe more succinct; the main point there rathert han language is the removal of them from their traditional territory and the distance from parents; maybe the two items can be combined without making the ssection too long. Also, one of the webpages out there somewhere has a list of which communities spoke which dialect, e.g. Li'kwala for hte Lekwiltok/Southern Kwakiutl and others; these should all be mentioned, and maybe listed in the tribes table.Skookum1 (talk) 01:18, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Origin of the term "Kwakiutl"[edit]

Why does this article only mention the term "Kwakiutl" (which is used in most published literature about this cultural group) once, and not mention its origin, and why the title differs from this? This should be corrected with a bit of additional information. Badagnani (talk) 05:57, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

There used to be an explanation in the intro, it seems to have beed edited into oblivion. "Kwakiutl" as a name for this whole group was the result of a misapprehension by Franz Boas or another ethnography that the name of the people at Fort Rupert, the Kwagu'ł (Kwagyewlth) was the name of the whole group; the misapprehension was extended by calling the Heltsuk, Haisla and Owekeeno as "Northern Kwakiutl", which is even more incorrect. It's a similar sort of misapprehension as the story behind the names "Canada" and "Nootka" or the extension of "Salish" from the Flathead people to the entire related language group. "Kwakiutl" has political connotations within Kwakwaka'wakw culture as belonging to one group, specifically a lower-ranking group within the potlatching system, so that someone from 'Yalis, who would be 'Namgis, would not like very much at all being called as belonging to the lower-ranked group. It would be like calling all Europeans Poles or Czechs if our Mongol conquerers had decided that's what we should be called (if that had happened), or callling the English "Irish", for that matter. It's always been wrong, although the corrected usage apparently is up against a lof of inertia in the academic world of linguists and ethnographers who persist in the incorrect usage. Canadian English, mostly only British Columbia English, makes the distinction now and in the Canadian print media the correctified form is seen, same as you'd see Nlaka'pamux instead of Thompson or Secwepemc instead of of Shuswap, or even just Nisga'a instead of Nishga and so on. Also to note with "Kwakiutl" is that it is used as a group/ethnic name by certain Kwakwaka'wakw groups, but only in that political grouping related to/associated with the Fort Rupert Band, namely the Southern Kwakiutl of Campbell River/Cape Mudge (the lowest-ranking in potlatch protocol, as they were offshoots of the already low-ranking Kwagyewlth); the name of the Kwakiutl District Council reflects this alignment; the other tribal councils use combinations of their proper names, e.g. Gwa'sala or Da'nax'daxw (there is no "Kwakwaka'wakw Tribal Council"). That this usage isn't used in other languages, or hasn't been updated in those other languages, is sort of a "blip" - only English has been politically-correctified; yet there are academic tendencies to consider Kwakiutl still-correct and still-apt, even though it's mildly offensive (sometimes strongly offensive, if involving a person from certain bands) and even still used by a certain subgroup. But linguists still call the Nuxalk Bella Coola, and still use Nootka for the Nuu-chah-nulth, and these remain errors in the other languages still using these terms. it may be that only English has had reason to be politicaly/culturally sensitive to First Nations/Native American - despite their sympathy with FN/NA groups, Germans still have not corrected their German usages to reflect native cultures/languages, likewise French and so on. This is one of those cases where Wiki's guidelines calling for "most accepted use" or "widest use" collides with inappropriateness and also the trump-card of "indigenous correctness". I suppose using Kwakiutl for all Kwakwaka'wakw is somethiing like how Deutsch became "Dutch" and transposed to mean Netherlanders (though "Dutchman" in the Old West more often meant a German, sometiems a Dane, even a Slav...). It's pretty much in disuse in British Columbia, and largely elsewhere in Canada. One note: ethnographers like Boas tended to be at Fort Rupert in the early days becaues it was fortified and a "safe place to be" in that very warlike area....not that the Kwagu'ł were all that friendly themselves. While Canadian English has had these corrections take place, sometimes in a very Newspeak-like fashion (where the previous word is somehow "disappeared", and/or condemned, with "everybody knows now" appearing out of nowhere, or instant neologisms e.g. "Salish Sea" touted by those advancing them as "traditional" and that the current name is either wrong and/or offensive.....our resident Kwakwaka'wakw, User:OldManRivers, hasnt' been around lately or he would have answered all this; he's out canoeing and potlatch-dancing and such for the summer, lucky kid.....Skookum1 (talk) 13:52, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
There should probably be a "Kwakiutl redirects here, for the specific tribal group whose name is the source of that term, see Kwagu'ł" or a similar dab line; an explanation of the ethnographic error (and it's an error, though few ethnobraphic-tenured types have owned up to it and continue to use the error, particuarly in other langauges/countries) should be explained in the intro, albeit more briefly than I'm capable of ;-).Skookum1 (talk) 13:55, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm back, briefly, for now. haha. Kwagul is one of the Kwakwaka'wakw tribes. People from all the tribes identify as Kwakwaka'wakw, including Lekwidaxw people. Kwak-ee-you-tel, as some like to mistakingly prounounce it is one thing, Kwa-guylth, as people pronounce is, is one of the tribes. Like hitting Canada and call all Canadian's "Nova Scotians". I don't think it warrants a "Kwakiutl redirects here blah blah blah", but a "Origin of name" or that other fancy word that means the same thing should be there to give an explanation. Good idea gents! OldManRivers (talk) 21:19, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Skookum1, we Germans are used to being called "Alemanni" in some languages, "Saxons" in others, "Prussians", "Bavarians", "Germani", "Franks" in yet others, not to mention less complementary terms such as nemcy or "metal-cap wearers" (that's Navajo for you, and similarly German Sign ... no foreigner calls Germans [ˈdɔʏtʃə] in their own language, and I actually prefer it that way – more variety and colour) … and you know what? In the Orient, all (Western, at least) Europeans were known as "Franks" one time. Don't get me started on *walhaz. Metonymy, or synecdoche specifically, is commonplace; the name of one tribe stands in for a larger ethnic group. Does any monolingual English-speaker ever say (or rather, make themselves sound like having seizure attempting to pronounce) Kwakwaka'wakw? I doubt it. I, for sure, even as a trained linguist and phonetician, wouldn't bother with such a tongue-twister (in an English-speaking context), when I have a shorter and more convenient term. As far as I'm concerned, Kwakiutl is the English word for Kwakwaka'wakw, the translation, a freaking exonym. And if they complain, I'll go redneck and call them damn Injuns. Frankly, I don't give two shits about people who disrespect other languages – a language has the damned right to have exonyms. There's got to be a line drawn somewhere. If you try to force me to write or even say Kwakwaka'wakw, it will be me who is offended. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 15:48, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
Comparison of these names to names for German is irrelevant. And yes, they do complain; Kwakwaka'wakw was started by someone who's half-Namgis, and who is NOT "Kwakiutl"/Kwagyulh. The class and social distinctions between the different Kwakwala speaking peoples are too complex to explain again, equivocating those away by comparisons to "peoples from away" and outside this culture area have no place or relevance. As noted below the Kwakiutl page keeps on being expanded to refer to the whole group, including groups who are expressly not Kwagyulh. Modern Canadian English uses "Kwakwaka'wakw", and no "Kwakiutl" is not an exonym, it is an anglicization of the name of one group of Kwakwaka'wakw, it is not a term suitable for them all. Nakaoktok, Tzanekteuk, Namgis and others are not "Kwakiutl" and are offended to be referred to as such. You can be a chauvinist person all you want by making a no-longer-true claim about "kwakiutl" being "English", it's not, it's always been wrong since Boas coined/appropriated it, and a few decades of cultural revival and re-assertion have pushed it aside in Canadian usage. Please do not continue to support the mistakes of the past, and insist that those who only know about what they were called are valid to point to for "COMMONNAME". They are not. See merge proposal below.Skookum1 (talk) 17:10, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Tough luck, that's metonymy/pars pro toto for you: it's incredibly common; even on the part of the politically correct. Just think of the poor Yupik who can insist that they are not Inuit and that the word inuk/inuit doesn't even exist in their languages, and that they do not wish to be called Inuit, till the cows come home: ignorant Canadians (i. e., almost all of them) will still call them Inuit. Or the Sinti, Kalderash and others who resent being identified as Roma: "We're no Roma, we'd rather have you call us gypsies if you must!"
Well, at least there is a reasonable Anglicisation now; that's a compromise, I guess. Still only IPA, I'll add respelling. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 22:23, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
ever thought of using a reliable source instead of your own guesstimation? Like, for example, a real live Kwakwaka'wakw person?? A recording?? I chatted with him (User:OldManRivers) privately (we know each other on FB) and he said this: :::::::*Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw
  • /’/ is a glottal stop.
  • Kwa kwa ka wakw
  • I’ve never seen that phonomic spelling on article before.
  • Usually the IPA is sufficient.
  • I think the IPA is incorrect, which he is basing his phonomic spelling on.
  • I guess the problem is Kwakwaka’wakw vs. Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw.
Your "probably" in the edit comment says it all; personal opinion is not a reliable could say that about User:OldManRivers' opinion too, but he's a native speaker, and you're not. He indicated that the article has been neglected and he'll take some time to fix it up, so I won't revert your edit and will let either you, or wait for him to do the needed overhaul.Skookum1 (talk) 23:30, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
What?! This is getting increasingly bizarre. We're talking about English here, not Kwak'wala, because this is English Wikipedia, directed to English readers, not Kwak'wala Wikipedia. What is now in the article is not an Anglicised pronunciation, but sheer unpronounceable gibberish that's completely irrelevant to the 99.9% of English speakers (even the IPA-literate ones) that are not language geeks, experts or natives. After all, [kʷ] and the glottal stop are not phonemes in English. Don't be so elitist and expect readers to pronounce readily what even trained phoneticians have trouble with, that's completely unrealistic. I just wish to help the lay reader, and what we had before was helpful in this sense. (Clearly we should not assume that this article will only be read by natives and language geeks.)
About reliable sources: Native speaker opinions are not reliable sources per se, because native speakers are often wrong even about their own language; I'm willing to grant an exception to native speakers with linguistic training, but it is still more OR and personal opinion than a reliable source (note that I had merely transposed the already existing English IPA to respelling: only the syllabification was new, but the cited pronunciation guide supports it). A source is actually cited, and what it says is not /kʷäkʷɑkɑʔwäkʷ/, but Kwalk-walk-ya-walk / Kwalk-walk-ya-walk-wuh (note how the IPA doesn't even fit this description). Extracting or deriving a supposedly "English" but not appreciably Anglicised pronunciation /kʷäkʷɑkɑʔwäkʷ/ from it is pure OR/SYNTH. Let's stick to what the source says, namely Kwalk-walk-ya-walk / Kwalk-walk-ya-walk-wuh, not our own interpretations of that.
We need both the native pronunciation (I'm willing to defer to native-speaker-with-linguistic-training authority here), in phonetic detail (i. e., [kʷakʷəkəw̓akʷ] or the like), and the Anglicised pronunciation (which is appropriate for English contexts anyway, even for those who find it more or less feasible to approximate the native pronunciation) as a practical compromise (preferrably with respelling). I still don't even know where to put the stress. Stress may not be phonemically distinctive in Kwak'wala, but it's still important to know where a native speaker would place it, and it's expected that stress be marked in a phonetic transcription. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 02:30, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
Gotta agree with OMR about that /l/ that you seem to be getting from nowhere. And your comment to the effect of "no non-native monolingual person uses Kwakwaka'wakw", whatever the exact wording was, excludes me because I'm familiar with half a dozen language. But I'm also a British Columbian anglophone by birth, i.e. a native speaker or British Columbian English, I can tell you that non-native people DO use the term Kwakwaka'wakw in the press and in communications to and about these people; be they government or academics or local business people; they don't pronounce it the purely native way unless maybe they have Kwak'wala-speaking family or have a lot of contact; but I can guarantee you that it's used by the major Vancouver papers, and the English media, and by federal and provincial government staff. It is the normal term in CANADIAN English, and as this is a Canadian topic CANENGL applies, not misnomers still popular in other countries or other forms of English. As noted elsewhere in this discussion, the English way of using this name has "kwaw" rhyming with "caw", whereas in Kwak'wala, it rhymes with "cow", and we don't have the guttural k - some of us might e.g. non-natives who live among them in Alert Bay or wherever. Use of correct native endonyms is now normal practice in Canadian English, and not just in BC. Somewhere in the round of RMs about BC peoples this last spring was an essay from a staffer at AANDC about the evolving use of such mames. Kwakwaka'wakw is definitely the norm nowadays, and any number of media/government reliable sources will back this up...also school curriculums. Your use of the term "gibberish" is also somewhat demeaning, I think you should apologize for that quite frankly.... Skookum1 (talk) 23:18, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
Here is the aforesaid essay on using native endonyms even though it doesn't mention Kwakwaka'wakw in particular; it helped resolve the St'at'imc and Ktunaxa and other articles back to where they belong after a certain someone changedd them to their allegedly-better-known names, making many of the same arguments that you have, including "no one knows how to pronounce them"....yet people DO know how to pronounce them, or have a way of pronouncing them in English is not completely true to the correct pronunciation in the original language; it was brought forward on the St'at'imc RM months ago, along with this comment by well-known native affairs journalist Terry Glavin: This is a direct quote from his reply: "What a profoundly exotic line of argument, and against this? "The St'at'imc, Tshilqot'in, Secwepemc, Ktunaxa and Nlaka'pamux names, if not so much Skwxwu7mesh, are now a standard part of Canadian English and the accepted norms." That sentence is completely and unambiguously and (one would have thought) uncontroversially true. These (except for perhaps Skwxwu7mesh, I don't specifically recall) were the correct spellings at the Vancouver Sun while I was covering aboriginal affairs more than 20 years ago for goodness sake. The Vancouver Sun isn't exactly a linguistics newsletter." The profoundly exotic line of argument he's referring to is the "it's not English because nobody knows how to pronounce it" Skookum1 (talk) 23:26, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
Kwakwaka'wakw is the title of the article because Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw would not work for obvious reason. To say Kwakwaka'wakw is not used in English vernacular without citation is POV. Kwakwaka'wakw/Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw have been cited as actual sources for the name of these people. It is also the name used among English speakers and kwak̓wala speakers. Just because you aren't familiar with the name (and the spelling used) does not mean you can automatically assume it is not used by English speakers. Yes, it may look strange or foreign to you. There are thousands of article on Wikipedia that would probably do the same. There are quite a few articles on Indigenous peoples that use non-English diacritics and accents in the Wikipedia article name. I understand that this is "English Wikipedia", not "Kwak̓wala Wikipedia". But there are dozens of examples where words, names, and spellings from non-English places are used in the English language world (both through vernacular and published works). Are you getting so indignant on those article talk pages as well too Florian Blaschke?
The Aboriginal Affairs "Pronunciation Guide" is so full of errors and mispronunciations. There is no /l/ sound in the name at all. They're not even versions that are used. I'd remove the citation but would like to find better citations to reference on correct pronunciation. Perhaps a specific subheading should be added to the article dealing with etymology and variations (as mentioned). The article was fixed in a way so that the average reader would not become inundated with a jumble of information in the first line. The IPA is there. Perhaps what is now needed is an audio file as well (which I can do.). OldManRivers (talk) 22:23, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I pointed out privately to OMR that you were meaning the anglicized spelling/pronunciation, but I have yet to see a source from you about that pronunciation. I'm from BC and live here, and have never heard someone insert a 'y' in that name when pronouncing it (KWOWkwow'kaWOWK is how I'd stab at it in my own non-IPA). Either that or Kwakwaka'wawk (kWAH-kwah-ka-WAHK) though the former is closer to the native version and is more likely to be heard in places like Alert Bay, Port McNeill and Campbell River where these people are present in daily life. And this is about Canadian English, and in this case about British Columbian English, it is not about global English or someone from afar trying to pronounce a word 'intuitively' based on what they think the pronuncation should be is irrelevant. Where's your citation for that claim that English pronunciation would "intuitively" have the /ya/?Skookum1 (talk) 02:38, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

Factually speaking, yes, [kʷäkʷɑkɑʔwäkʷ] is unpronounceable gibberish, a daunting jumble of letters and diacritics, to monolingual (or at least non-native) English speakers (most of them not even Canadians) who aren't linguists or phoneticians. That's a purely factual description of the impression they are going to have. It's not helpful for them. Most people – even educated people – can't even read IPA (I've learned that from constant complaints on Wikipedia); it's annoying because IPA is far superior to respelling schemes, but that's the way it is. (For English words and Anglicised pronunciations, respelling is OK, though.)
I'm just being realistic, guys. Remember I'm a trained linguist and phonetician, I think these languages and cultures are extremely interesting and beautiful and should be preserved, and I sympathise deeply with the concerns of natives; but I try to empathise with the problems people are going to have with reading IPA and pronouncing this name. It's just a particularly egregious example, just like Skwxwu7mesh, that's why I'm complaining about this one in particular. That's why we have exonyms and Anglicisations and respelling, to make things easier for people who aren't hyperpolyglots and linguists. Try to take the perspective of the lay reader who just wants to learn something about native peoples and sees Kwakwaka'wakw and goes OMG. Or who has already seen the name and wants to know how to pronounce it. We should accommodate lay readers too, at least a little bit, so don't fight any attempt at a compromise.
Of course there is no [l] in there; nobody said there is. I think it's obvious that walk is simply an attempt to represent [wɑːk]. About the ya, don't ask me. I haven't come up with it. I don't even know the correct native pronunciation, so you tell me where the stress goes and what the vowels are like, and which Anglicised pronunciation approximates the native pronunciation best. You're the experts, not me. It's your job tell to the reader all that. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 00:17, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
We're trying to, but you're not hearing us. Kwakwaka'wakw is familiar to even ordinary British Columbians now; Kwakiutl is recognizable as a misnomer. Also familiar are Ktunaxa, Sto:lo, Tsawwassen (which isn't pronounced like it looks), Nlaka'pamux, Secwepemc, Nuxalk, Gitxsan, Wet'su-we'ten, Nisga'a, Tsilhqot'in, Tsleil-waututh, Nuxalk and Dakelh. There's lots of German placenames that look unpronounceable to anglophones also; and even more Russian and Polish ones. Or Nahuatl for that matter. That doesn't mean that there are people who don't know how to pronounce them, but feeding obsolete terms or discredited ones doesn't further the cause of public education about modern usages, it rather entrenches terms that are viewed sometimes as colonialist ("Thompson" instead of Nlaka'pamux for example) or which are, as in the case of Kwakiutl, somewhat offense to members of some of the groups who are described by it. Every bit as much as referring to the Haisla, Heiltsuk and Wuikunuxv as "Northern Kwakiutl". There's nothing "egregious" at all about Kwakwaka'wakw. It is the "normal" term nowadays, and the one preferred by the peoples it describes over nay other. I don't suppose it's occurred to you that it's extremely parochial/paternalistic of you to say what they should be called when you don't know how to pronounce it in the first place? It's really rather an odd statement for a linguist to make, in fact. Would you insist on calling Thai "Siamese"? Nahuatl as "Aztec"? Similarly what used to be "Micmac" is now very normally spelled as Mi'kmaq (and because it's so widespread in Maritime Canada, people there know that's pronounced "Migmaw", in English that is, whatever subtlety of phonology it has in the original language). Nootka now only refers to the Mowachaht of Nootka Sound and to the place; it is not appropriate to use for the Tseshat or Tla-O-Qui-Aht, or the Ucluelets or Ditidaht etc. (all of them collectively are the Nuu-chah-nulth, which though of modern invention is now pretty much all you'll see. There are exceptions when an "easier" spelling continues to prevail, e.g. Saanich instead of WSANEC, Squamish instead of Skwxwu7mesh, Musqueam instead of Hmwythkwyem or variations thereof. But Snuneymuxw is now standard over Nanaimo. But the general rule nowadays is that the preferred endonym has good reason to exist, as with Tsilhqot'in being used only for the people and their language, whereas Chilcotin is used for the region and the plateau and river. On the Washington side, the anglicizations tend to prevail but the cultural and political milieu down there is different. The issue is, again, what is used in Canadian English and whats is modern, not what is easiest or was common in the past. In Kwakiutl's case, the mistake that's been repeated was FRanz Boas'....and how long ago was that anyway?Skookum1 (talk) 01:21, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

Hello, I'm a phonetician familiar with a number of Canada's First Nations languages (although not Kwak'wala - yet), and based on what I've read, Kwakwaka'wakw is pronounced something like [kʷɑˈkʷəkʲəˌw̓ɑkʷ], roughly equivanlent to kwah-KWƏK-yə-wahk. Evidence for this can be seen here:, where it is subtly suggested that the letter 'k' (among others) is pronounced with a 'y-offglide' - this is a fancy way of saying that it should be pronounced 'ky'. The Wikipedia page on the Kwak'wala language confirms this, where we can see there are no plain 'k' sounds in this language - they are all either palatalized (followed by 'y') or labialized (followed by 'w'). This is similar to other Wakashan languages, such as Oowekyala, were you can see the 'y' has been included in the spelling of their name. Knowing that there are no plain 'k' sounds in Kwakwaka'wakw and that they should all be pronounced 'ky' is part of the knowledge of speakers of this language (and possibly many BC Anglophones), but worldwide English readers have no way of knowing this. So I suggest including the 'y' sound in the IPA transcription (represented by [ʲ]), as well as the spelling pronunciation kwah-KWƏK-yə-wahk, or possibly kwah-KWƏK-yə-WAH-kwə for English readers who want to learn to say this name (somewhat) correctly. If there are no complaints, I'm happy to do it myself, but I don't really know the etiquette around editing wikis, so I'll wait awhile before doing anything. A recording of this autonym by a native speaker of the language, or by a learner that knows how to pronounce it correctly would be a valuable addition, and would allow me to confirm the IPA and pronunciation transcriptions. Thanks! sixbladeknife (talk) 21:01, 15 December 2014 (UTC)


Hi OMR; just wondering where the Kwiakah fit into the table of tribes....came across them this morning in an INAC page about the Douglas Treaties, which I hadn't realized included Kwakwaka'wakw signatories. Douglas Treaties obviously needs an article; I guess I'll pen up stubs for the remaining Kwakwaka'wakw band governments....and I'm wondering if the table on this page shouldn't have a column for which band government the tribes listed are now in. And still hoping for your input/explanation of the Nahwitti and "where are they now?"Skookum1 (talk) 14:26, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Stranded readers[edit]

I was looking at the large amount of negative feedback to the page Kwakiutl. Feedback Dashboard It appears many readers are looking for the more in depth coverage on this page, but aren't making it here. Should that page be a redirect to a new section here explaining the nuances of the two names? I see this was discussed above, we should re-start the conversation. High-school social studies projects are suffering! The Interior (Talk) 07:03, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

See below.Skookum1 (talk) 17:03, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

village of Ku-Kultz[edit]

This is mentioned on Fort Rupert, British Columbia by historian Bill Barlee, says it's near the northern tip of Vancouver Island. Trying to google that yields Ku Klux Klan.....wondering what another transliteration might be.....many many native village names are not in BC Names or other accessible sources.......and lots we do have names for still need articles anyway. This I think was a major one.Skookum1 (talk) 03:21, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

mergefrom Kwakiutl[edit]

I happened to look at the other article just now, it was kept so the term could be explained but it keeps on being expanded, inappropriately, for the whole group of peoples.....items on the Nakoaktok and Tanekteuk in the gallery there I just removed; people from those two groups would be offended as they are not Kwayulh. These should have been merged long ago, but the older term was argued for being kept so long as it was an article about the term. But nobody patrols it to keep it t hat way, instead it gets expanded. "Just merge 'em".Skookum1 (talk) 17:02, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Support. Just stumbled upon this. -Uyvsdi (talk) 02:27, 3 October 2013 (UTC)Uyvsdi
Well, it's been two and a half months, so time to merge. -Uyvsdi (talk) 16:48, 11 October 2013 (UTC)Uyvsdi

Page Names[edit]

To sort all this out:

  • Kwagiutl First Nation - the band, indian act, government organization<nowiki>Insert non-formatted text here</nowiki>
you mean the one band at Port Hardy, right?
  • Kwagiutl - this page becomes the ethno-history-cultural article for the Kwagiutl peoples. In the beginning talk about how the Kwakwaka'wakw is the proper term and that it's a incorrect term for the Kwakwaka'wakw peoples.
for all the Kwakiutl peoples; it's still in use; a lengthy discussion isn't needed of the difference, just a simple comment about it being a misnomer that's properly only applied to one group, and which has come into currency with certain organizations, and also remains current in the linguistics and anthropological literature; and Kwakwaka'wakw would be/should be the ethno-history-culture article; this one (ie.g. plain Kwakiutl would/could be the ethno article for the people of the Kwakiutl First Nation (the spelling they use), unless there's a more "correct" form like Kwagyeulth or whatever that they prefer. Given your next item I guess that's what you meant:Skookum1 21:31, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Kwakwaka'wakw is then the ethno-historical-cultural article for all of the Kwakwaka'wakw peoples. With introductions of each of the other peoples/nations, along with history and backround of the Kwakwaka'wakw as a whole.

OldManRivers 09:59, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

The following is draft for a conversion of this page to a disambiguation page; cultural-correctness has to be represented, but the misnomers can't be unduly slagged or ignored, and still have to be listed, which is why the disambig page: so it's gonna wind up something like this: Kwakiutl - this page, becomes a main disambiguation pageSkookum1 21:40, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

page starts

Kwakiutl, variously spelled Kwagiutl, Kwagyewlth, Kwagyuilh, Kwakweulth (etc. ad nauseam; all known/historical variants should be listed, each of them bolded), is a misnomer commonly used to describe the aboriginal people in the Canadian province of British Columbia who are properly known as the Kwakwaka'wakw ("speakers of Kwak'wala"). Derived from the name of a particular band [term here needs tweaking...] at Port Hardy, it was mistakenly applied to all peoples sharing the same or similar languaes, in the same way that "Nootka" came to be used as a reference for all Nuu-chah-nulth poeples.

For the people generally known in English as the Kwakiutl, see Kwakwaka'wakw. For their language, see Kwak'wala language.

Despite its incorrect context, the name Kwakiutl remains in common use by linguists and anthropologists for the Kwakwaka'wakw people as well as their language, Kwak'wala and some organizations of Kwakwaka'wakw Indian Act-based governance use and associated organizations use it in their names:

  • Kwakiutl First Nation - refers only to the band/Indian Act government of the one band at Port Hardy. For their ethno article maybe Kwagyewlth or the proper Kwak'wala spelling of whatever "Kwakiutl" originally/correctly is spelled as.
  • Kwakiutl District Council - a tribal council of only some of the Kwakwaka'wakw peoples, including (I think?) the namesake Kwakiutl First Nation
  • other org names as found follow in suit, and can be added as found; this may include article-noteworhy businesses or insitutions that use the word in their names.

"Southern Kwakiutl" refers to the Cape Mudge and Campbell River bands and associated peoples, and as a term is often used by their governments and agencies. The term "Northern Kwakiutl" has also been incorrectly use to describe the related Wakashan-speaking peoples of the Central Coast, the Haisla, Heiltsuk and Wuikinuxv (Owekeeno)

The Kwakwaka'wakw and related peoples have been historically referred to as the Wakish, or as the Wakash People, although technically such a variant of Wakashan would refer also to the Nuu-chah-nulth-aht, Makah, Heiltsuk, Haisla and Wuikinuxv

---page ends

NB I used "Nuu-chah-nulth-aht" here as from what I understand it includes the Ditidaht and Pacheenaht, and really also the Makah, which the convention is that Nuu-chah-nulth 'by itself doesn't.

Also NB Kwakiutl language needs retitling to Kwak'wala language....

And just for the record, bear in mind that "Norwegian" in English is a misnomer as well; in Norwegian "we" call ourselves "north-men", - normanna; Norwegian comes from North-way, "the people of the northern way", the "way" here being the Norwegian equivalent of the Inside Passage. "Dutchman" in the old days here referred to any non-Brit, non-French, non-Yankee European, and generally meant Germans and Scandinavians (there were very few Dutch in the colonial era) as well as Poles, Czechs and Hungarians....Skookum1 21:35, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
User:OldManRivers in the dicsussion above is himself 'Namgis, who are the Kwakwaka'wakw group at Alert Bay. He monitors this page so may weigh in with a reply, but again from what I can see of the text right now I don't see any clear insults or even a patronizing tone; please specify which phrases are the source of your complaint. Or just fix them.Skookum1 (talk) 17:05, 11 May 2009 (UTC)


In its present form, this article is, essentially, crap. I came here looking for enlightenment. Instead, I'm greeted with a political screed telling me that most of my (assumed) preconceptions about Kwakiutl are wrong. This is either arrogance or ignorance masquerading as inscrutability. It should be rewritten from the standpoint that the visitor to Wikipedia knows little or nothing about the subject and with the intention of providing knowledge, not dishing out insults. —QuicksilverT @ 08:00, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

Well, this was certainly true of older versions of the page; I've tried to de-POVize it but if you'd care to specify which phrases you find "insulting" I'll endeavour to fix them; I tried for as neutral a tone as possible but the fact remains that the now-proper name for this group of peoples is Kwakwaka'wakw and that the term Kwakiutl now is used (in BC) only in reference to the Kwakiutl First Nation and the Kwakiutl District Council, which does include other bands; the Legwiltok commonly use "Southern Kwakiutl" for themselves. It's also the standard term still used in most other languages, e.g. if you went to de:Kwakiutl or fr:Kwakiutl that's certainly the case; only in English is the p.c. form now "mandatory". From the perspective of other Kwakwaka'wakw groups than those of those groups still using the term, it's an insult to them to call them Kwakiutl, as this refers to a specific group.Skookum1 (talk) 17:03, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

Merger and/or Separation of Pages[edit]

I see a note proposing that this page be merged with another using the people's own name for themselves. This idea seems to me to show and excess of the specialist's in-group pride, or perhaps that presumptuous arrogance the beat poet Gary Snyder shows whenever he wafts his aegis over the native people of Hokkaido.

If there are fuller details on a page under Kwakwaka'wakw, this already short page might be truncated to a pointer. Most of us need such a pointer until we get here.

The main truncation would naturally be the elimination of the suggestion that the two pages be merged.  :-)

DavidLJ (talk) 01:12, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

Kwakiutl was merged into Kwakwaka'wakw and linked to Kwagu'ł to facilitate readers finding the information they want. -Uyvsdi (talk) 16:59, 11 October 2013 (UTC)Uyvsdi