Nooksack people

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Total population
Regions with significant populations
Whatcom County
English, Nooksack
American Indian panentheism, Christianity, Hinduism, other
Related ethnic groups
other Coast Salish peoples

The Nooksack (/ˈnʊksæk/; Nooksack: Noxwsʼáʔaq) are a federally recognized Native American people in northwestern Washington state in the United States. The tribe lives in the mainland northwest corner of the state near the small town of Deming (in western Whatcom County). They have more than 1,800[1] enrolled members.

In 1971, the tribe was ceded a one-acre (4,000 m²) reservation after they received federal recognition status from the United States government. They subsequently have increased reservation land to 2,500 acres (10 km²), including 65 acres (260,000 m2) of tribally owned trust land. Like most Northwest Coast indigenous peoples, prior to European settlement, the Nooksack relied on fishing as well as gathering for sustenance. Decisions in the 1970s have affirmed their traditional rights.

As of the 2000 census, the Nooksack Indian Reservation, at 48°53′03″N 122°20′54″W / 48.88417°N 122.34833°W / 48.88417; -122.34833 in Whatcom County, had a resident population of 547 persons living on 2,720 acres (11 km2)) of land. Of these residents, 373 persons, or 68.2 percent, identified as being solely of Native American ancestry.


Main article: Nooksack language

The Nooksack language (Lhéchalosem) belonged to the Coast Salishan family of Native American but became extinct around 1988. In the 1970s the Salishan linguist Brent Galloway worked closely with the last remaining fluent speaker. He worked toward creating a dictionary of their language but it's unclear if that work was published before his death. His 2009 book Dictionary of Upriver Halkomelem covers a language that was in the same region but distinct from that spoken by the Nooksack people.[2]

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