Indigenous Language Terms

The Northwest Coast is one of the most diverse linguistic regions in North America, with at least 45 languages represented. These languages reflect age-old cultural traditions that developed and were passed down through the generations. Embedded in these languages are the memories of how people lived on the land and sea and interacted with each other and other creatures. Language preservation is one of the greatest struggles facing Indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast. 

Explore this page to hear the words and phrases associated with herring as they are spoken in some of the languages of the Northwest Coast peoples. 


Small herring used for bait
I check my kelp in the water
We went gathering herring roe on kelp
You put the kelp in the water
Herring rake
Ready to start fishing herring
Lots of herring under the boat
Big herring catch just before evening
The net is full of herring again
Keeping the floats from sinking
The captain checking the catch
We are gathering the herring roe on kelp


Scooping herring
I keep checking my branches in the water
Branches are in the water
We are putting cedar branches in the water.
Herring Rake