Nooksack Place Names
248 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:31 Aug 2011
Release Date:31 Aug 2011

Nooksack Place Names

Geography, Culture, and Language

UBC Press

Place names are geographical markers that can lead us on fascinating journeys into other cultures. They convey a people’s relationship to the land, their sense of place. For indigenous peoples, place names can also be central to the revival of endangered languages.

This book takes readers on an exciting voyage into the history, language, and culture of the Nooksack tribe, who have traditionally inhabited territory along the border between British Columbia and Washington State. Allan Richardson and Brent Galloway, experts in anthropology and linguistics, trace the richness and strength of the Nooksack people’s connection to the land through more than 150 places named by elders and mentioned in key historical texts. Descriptions of Nooksack history and naming patterns – combined with maps, photographs, and detailed linguistic analyses – give life to a nearly extinct language and illuminate the intertwined relationships of place, culture, language, and identity.

By situating their findings in the context of larger discourses about place names and indigenous people’s connection to place, Richardson and Galloway signal a new direction for conducting ethnolinguistic research in indigenous communities.

Audio files and images to accompany the book can be found at

This book will be of interest to a wide variety of readers – members of the Nooksack Tribe, general readers interested in the origins and history of place names or the peoples and cultures of the Northwest Coast, and students and scholars of anthropology, geography, linguistics, history, law, resource allocation, and botany.

Tl’osmas-kwom tse7ít-as tíya Pókw ay kwóxwen txwyátl’ slhiyólh sníchichim ilh ta Noxwsá7aq Stí7ti7ixw. Tl’ósmas yalh óla málaq-chalh welhnímelh yestí7ixwólh ay t’ónoxwtewálhen-as.

Then so truly this book will help in the return of our language to the Nooksack People. Then so now we will never forget our late elders’ teachings. Syélpxen ta ánats tolí7 ta Noxwsá7aq (George Adams, from Nooksack), Director, Lhéchalosem Teacher Training Program, Nooksack Indian Tribe

A significant and impressive work. The skilful presentation of these place names, with an account of the names’ meaning and the structure of the very words themselves, will illuminate readers working to revitalize the language by learning through the land for decades to come. It will prove indispensable for local residents, linguists, and researchers looking for insights into the geographic history of the Nooksack territory. Brian Thom, Department of Anthropology, University of Victoria
Allan Richardson is a consulting anthropologist, retired from teaching at Whatcom Community College, Bellingham, Washington. Brent Galloway is a professor emeritus at the First Nations University of Canada in Regina. Foremost experts in their fields, they have thirty years of experience locating, visiting, and documenting Nooksack places.

Nooksack Phonemes and Orthographic Conventions

Part 1: About This Book and Its Sources

1 Introduction

2 Major Sources and Their Interpretation

Part 2: Nooksack Place Names

3 Introduction and Phonological Comments

4 Analysis of the Place Names

Part 3: Geography, Semantics, and Culture

5 Naming Patterns

6 Conclusion


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