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Language Family: Wakashan

Dialects: Kwaḵ̓wala, Liḵ̓wala, 'Nak̕wala, T̕łat̕łasiḵ̕wala, G̱ut̕sala

Language known as: Kwakwaka'wakw, Kwakiutl

The Kwak̓wala A language is spoken by First Nations on northeastern Vancouver Island and the smaller islands and mainland directly to the east.
"Ever since the white people first came to our lands, we have been known as the Kwakkewlths by Indian Affairs or as the Kwakiutl by anthropologists. In fact we are the Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw, people who speak Kwakʼwala, but who live in different places and have different names for our separate groups."1

State of the Language



The name of the Kwak̓wala dialect has been used for the whole language but this dialect is not spoken by all the First Nations that speak the language. The Kwak̓wala dialect is spoken in Alert Bay, Kincome Inlet, and Gilford Island.


This dialect has been called: Liq̓ʷala B, Lekwiltok

Liḵ̓wala is spoken by the Weḵaʼyi (We Wai Kai C) and Wiweḵʼa̱m (Wei Wai Kum D) peoples in the area of Campbell River and Quadra Island.

'Nak̕wala E

This dialect has been called: Northern Kwak̓wala

The 'Nak̕wala dialect is spoken by the 'Nak̕waxda'x̱w and Gwa'sa̱la peoples.

T̕łat̕łasiḵ̕wala F

This dialect has been called: Nahwitti

T̕łat̕łasiḵ̕wala is spoken by the T̕łat̕łasiḵ̕wala people (Tlatlasikwala First Nation) on Hope Island.

G̱ut̕sala G

This dialect has been called: Quatsino Sound

The G̱ut̕sala dialect is spoken in the Quatsino Sound area by the Gwa'sala people from Smiths Inlet and the 'Nakwaxda'xw people from Blunden Harbour. These two groups have come together as the Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw H at Port Hardy.

Footnotes / References
Audio Clip References