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. 


School of herring
Water is bubbling with herring
Threading the herring and then drying
You soak the dried herring
You prepare the drying rack
You pound the dried herring after roasting
We will roast herring over an open fire
We had a really good meal
We are waiting for the herring to spawn
We are going to eat herring eggs
Water is bubbling with herring
The herring is already smoked
Storage for winter supply
Scooping herring
Roasted herring on an open fire
Prepare the drying rack
Peel the meat away from the bone
It would be good to roast herring
I keep checking my branches in the water
I have dried my herring eggs
I am going to prepare the drying rack
I am going to eat herring eggs
Herring eggs
Crackling sound of eating herring
Branches are in the water
We gathered the branches with eggs
You go and put the branches out.
We are going to set the branches out.
We are putting cedar branches in the water.
Milky water caused by spawning
Actual spawning of herring
Herring Rake