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Members of a Nlaka’pamux community, circa 1914.
Total population
(5,000 (2007)[1])
Regions with significant populations
 Canada ( British Columbia),
 United States ( Washington)
English, Nlaka'pamuctsin
Christianity (Anglicanism and Catholicism), Animism
Related ethnic groups
Okanagan, Nicola people, Nicola Athapaskans

The Nlaka'pamux or Nlakapamuk[2] (/ɪŋkləˈkæpmə/ ing-klə-KAP-mə;[3] Salish [nɬeʔképmx]), also previously known as the Thompson, Thompson River Salish, Thompson Salish, Thompson River Indians or Thompson River people, and historically as the Klackarpun,[4] Haukamaugh, Knife Indians and Couteau Indians, are an indigenous First Nations people of the Interior Salish language group in southern British Columbia. Their traditional territory includes parts of the North Cascades region of Washington.

Other names[edit]

Phonograph cylinder recording of song by Nlaka'pamux in British Columbia, 1897.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Frontier-era histories and maps transliterate the name Nlaka'pamux as Hakamaugh or Klackarpun; they were also known as the Couteau, Kootomin[5] or Knife Indians. In the dialect of the Thompson language used by the Ashcroft Indian Band, the variant Nl'akapxm is used.

The Nlaka'pamux of the Nicola Valley, who are all in the Nicola Tribal Association reserves refer to themselves Scw'exmx and speak a different dialect of the Thompson language. Together with the Spaxomin people, a branch of the Okanagan people (Syilx) who live in the upper Nicola valley and also belong to the Nicola Tribal Association, they are collectively known as the Nicola people, or Nicolas.


The Nlaka'pamux were the object of both Anglican and Roman Catholic missionary efforts in the nineteenth century, resulting in the vast majority belonging to one of the two denominations by the beginning of the Twentieth Century.[6]


The Nlaka'pamux Nation Tribal Council despite its name does not include all Nlaka'pamux people, but is one of two main tribal bodies within the region, the other being the Nicola Tribal Association. The Lytton First Nation or Lytton Band, focussed on the town of the same name, which is named Camchin or Kumsheen in the Nlaka'pamux language and is one of the largest Nlaka'pamux communities, does not belong to any of the three Tribal Association. Lower Nicola Indian band[7] is also independent of all and any Tribal affiliations and is located in Lower Nicola, British Columbia, Canada.

None of the Nlaka'pamux governments are in the British Columbia Treaty Commission process at present.[8]

Nlaka'pamux Nation Tribal Council[edit]

Nicola Valley Tribal Association[edit]

A Nlaka'pamux table.



The Nlaka'pamux speak an Interior Salishan language named nɬeʔkepmxcín, usually transliterated as Nlaka'pamuxtsn and known in English as the Thompson language. The Scw'exmx of the Nicola Valley speak a dialect also called Scw'exmx.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thompson at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Keith Thor Carlson (2007), Precedent and the Aboriginal Response to Global Incursions: Smallpox and Identity Reformation Among the Coast Salish, Journal of the Canadian Historical Association / Revue de la Société historique du Canada. Vol. 18, No. 2, 2007, p. 165–201
  3. ^ "Pronunciation Guide to First Nations in British Columbia". Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. 2010-09-15. Retrieved 2013-05-14. 
  4. ^ [on 1859 map by Lieut. R.C. Mayne, Royal Engineers],
  5. ^ Kootomin is a nativized variant of the French couteau
  6. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Thompson River Indians". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 
  7. ^ Lower Nicola Indian band homepage
  8. ^ List of First Communities in BC, BC Treaty Commission


  • Thompson River Salish Dictionary

Compiled by Laurence C. Thompson and M. Terry Thompson

  • They Write Their Dreams on the Rock Forever: Rock Writings in the Stein River Valley of British Columbia (with Chris Arnett and Richard Daly
  • Spuzzum: Fraser Canyon Histories, with Andrea LaForet
  • Historical Atlas of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest, Derek Hayes, Cavendish Books, Vancouver (1999) ISBN
  • The Resettlement of British Columbia: Essays on Colonialism & Geographical Change, University of British Columbia Press; New Ed edition (January 1997) ISBN
  • Shirley Sterling (1997). My Name is Seepeetza. Douglas and McIntyre, Inc. ISBN 0-88899-290-4. 
  • NLaka'pamux Language CD by Barbara Joe(2005){Editor/Producer/Technical: Dr. Shawn E. Swakum D.D}
  • Shackan Stories by Jim Toodlican(2006){Editor/Producer/Technical: Shawn E. Swakum D.D}