Upper Chinook language

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Upper Chinook
Native to United States
Region Columbia River
Extinct 11 July 2012[1]
with the death of Gladys Thompson
Revival 270 self-identified speakers (2009-2013)[2]
  • Upper Chinook
Language codes
ISO 639-3 wac
Glottolog wasc1239[3]

Upper Chinook, also known as Kiksht, Columbia Chinook, and Wasco-Wishram after its last surviving dialect, is a recently extinct language of the US Pacific Northwest. It had 69 speakers in 1990, of whom 7 were monolingual: five Wasco[4] and two Wishram. In 2001, there were five remaining speakers of Wasco.[5]

The last fully fluent speaker of Kiksht, Gladys Thompson, died in July 2012.[1] She had been honored for her work by the Oregon Legislature in 2007.[6][7][8] Two new speakers were teaching Kiksht at the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in 2006.[9] The Northwest Indian Language Institute of the University of Oregon formed a partnership to teach Kiksht and Numu in the Warm Springs schools.[10][11] Audio and video files of Kiksht are available at the Endangered Languages Archive.[12]

The last fluent speaker of the Wasco-Wishram dialect was Madeline Brunoe McInturff, and she died on 11 July 2006 at the age of 91.[13]


  • Multnomah, once spoken on Sauvie Island and in the Portland area in northwestern Oregon
  • Kiksht
    • Cascades, also known as Watlalla or Watlala, now extinct (two groups, one on each side of the Columbia River; the Oregon group were called Gahlawaihih [Curtis]).
    • Hood River, now extinct (spoken by the Hood River Band of the Hood River Wasco in Oregon, also known as Ninuhltidih [Curtis] or Kwikwulit [Mooney])
    • White Salmon, now extinct (spoken by the White Salmon River Band of Wishram in Washington)
    • Wasco-Wishram (the Wishram lived north of the Columbia River in Washington and the kin Wasco lived south of the same river in Oregon)
    • Clackamas, now extinct, was spoken in northwestern Oregon along the Clackamas and Sandy rivers.

Kathlamet has been classified as an additional dialect; it was not mutually intelligible.


Bilabial Alveolar Post-
Palatal Velar Uvular Glottal
central lateral nor. lab. nor. lab.
Nasal m n
Stop plain p t k q ʔ
ejective kʼʷ qʼʷ
voiced b d ɡ ɡʷ
Affricate plain ts
ejective tsʼ tɬʼ tʃʼ
Fricative plain s ɬ ʃ x χ χʷ h
voiced ɣ ɣʷ
Approximant w l j

Vowels in Kiksht are as follows: /u a i ɛ ə/.


  1. ^ a b Kristian Foden-Vencil (2012-07-17). "Last Fluent Speaker Of Oregon Tribal Language 'Kiksht' Dies". Oregon Public Broadcasting. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  2. ^ "Detailed Languages Spoken at Home and Ability to Speak English". www.census.gov. US Census Bureau. Retrieved 2017-11-15. 
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Wasco-Wishram". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  4. ^ Culture: Language. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon. 2009 (retrieved 9 April 2009)
  5. ^ "Lewis & Clark—Tribes—Wasco Indians". National Geographic. Retrieved 2013-02-25. 
  6. ^ Last Fluent Speaker of Kiksht Dies
  7. ^ "Honors Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs elder Gladys Miller Thompson for her contribution to preserving Native languages of Oregon". 74th OREGON LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY--2007 Regular Session. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  8. ^ "Zelma Smith, 1926-2010". Spilyay Tymoo, Coyote News, the Newspaper of the Warm Springs Reservation. Retrieved 2013-02-25. 
  9. ^ Keith Chu (2006-07-30). "New speakers try to save language". The Bulletin. Bend, OR. Retrieved 2013-02-25. 
  10. ^ Joanne B. Mulcahy (2005). "Warm Springs: A Convergence of Cultures" (Oregon History Project). Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  11. ^ Aaron Clark. "USA: Tribes Strive to Save Native Tongues". GALDU, Resource Centre for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Retrieved 2013-02-26. 
  12. ^ Nariyo Kono. "Conversational Kiksht". Endangered Languages Archive. Retrieved 2013-02-25. 
  13. ^ "Holy road: Speaker of Wasco language dead at 91 - Indian Country Media Network". indiancountrymedianetwork.com. Retrieved 2017-05-24. 


  • Sapir, Edward; Curtin, Jeremiah (1909). Wishram texts, together with Wasco tales and myths. E.J. Brill. ASIN: B000855RIW. 

External links

  • Nariyo Kono. "Conversational Kiksht". Endangered Languages Archive. Retrieved 2013-02-25. 
  • Kiksht - Washco Wishram - Upper Chinook videos, YouTube
  • Wasco-Wishram Indian Language (Upper Chinook, Kiksht, Clackamas) at native-languages.org
  • Digital Kiksht, video about digitizing Kiksht language materials
  • Audio of spoken Kiksht
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