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Nooksak and Nootka Indians
Nooksak. A tribe, living
mainly in the State of Washington, which is said to have branched of
from the Squawmish of British Columbia. (See
Nootka. Significance unknown.
The name was originally applied to a tribe also known as Mooachaht
living at Nootka Sound but was afterward extended to all of the
tribes of the same group even including the Makah of the State of
Washington, though the latter are more often treated independently.
(See Makah under
Washington.) Also called:
Aht, from the endings of their divisional names.
Tc'eca´atq, Skokomish name.
Connections. The Nootka constituted one of the two great
branches of the Wakashan linguistic family, the other being the
Location. All the Nootka are located on the west coast of
Vancouver Island from Cape Cook on the north to beyond Port San
Juan, except the Makah and Ozette, who live about Cape Flattery, in
the State of Washington.
Subdivisions or Tribes
Ahousaht, about Clayoquot Sound.
Chaicclesaht, on Ououkinsh and Nasparte Inlets.
Clayoquot, on Meares Island and Torfino Inlet.
Ehatisaht, on Esperanza Inlet.
Ekoolthaht, on Barclay Sound.
Hachaaht, on or north of Barclay Sound.
Hesquiat, on Hesquiat Harbor.
Kelsemaht, on Clayoquot Sound.
Klahosaht, north of Nootka Sound.
Kwoneatshatka, toward the north end of Vancouver Island.
Kyuquot, on Kyuquot Sound.
Makah, about Cape Flattery.
Manosaht, at Hesquiat Point.
Mooachaht, on the north side of Nootka Sound.
Muchalat, on Muchalat Arm of Nootka Sound.
Nitinat, on the tidal lake of Nitinat near the southwest coast of
Nuchatlitz, on Nuchalitz and Esperanza Inlets.
Oiaht, on Barclay Sound.
Opitchesaht, on Alberni Canal, Somass River, and neighboring lakes.
Pacheenaht, on San Juan Harbor.
Seshart, on Barclay Sound and Alberni Canal.
Toquart, on the north shore of Barclay Sound.
Uchucklesit, on Uchucklesit Harbor, Barclay Sound.
Ucluelet, at the north entrance of Barclay Sound.
Exclusive of the Makah and Ozette towns (see
Washington), the names of the following Nootka villages have been
History. Juan de Fuca (1592) is the first
white man known to have visited the Nootka country. Fuentes, if he
and his voyage be not myths, was among these people, or at least
near them, in 1640. Ensign Juan Perez is believed to have anchored
in Nootka Sound in 1774, and the next year Bodega and Maurelle
passed along the Nootka coasts on their way south. From March to
April 1778, Captain Cook was at Nootka Sound, and we owe one of our
oldest accounts of the Indians there to him. In 1786 English vessels
under Captains Hanna, Portlock, and Dixon visited them and from that
time on British and American trading vessels constantly resorted to
them, usually calling at Nootka Sound. Between 1792 and 1794 Capt.
George Vancouver visited the country. In 1803 the Boston, from the
New England port of that name, was destroyed by Nootka Indians and
all on board killed except two persons, one of whom, John Jewett
(1815), has left us an important account of his captivity and his
captors. A new era was opened with the settlement of Victoria in
1843 and since then absorption in European culture has gone on
apace. The Nootka have been missionized principally by the Roman
Population. Mooney (1928) estimated that, in 1780, there were
6,000 Nootka proper and 2,000 Makah. In 1906 there were 2,159 and
Connections in which they have become noted. The claim of the Nootka
to special recognition rests,
(1) on the fact that, with the exception of a few of their
neighbors, they were the only Indians on the Pacific coast who
(2) from the part played by Nootka Sound in the early history of the
The Indian Tribes of North of America, by
John Swanton, 1953