Native Americans In Oregon
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Oregon has historically been home to hundreds of thousands of people including dozens of Native American tribes dating back before 9500 B.C. As various tribes made the journey across the Bering Strait to relocate, many chose areas in the Northwest to settle. Some of the first to the Oregon area were the Kalapuya Indians who inhabited Oregon more than 8,000 years ago and although many different tribes called our state home the Kalapuya is just one example of people native to Oregon.
The Kalapuya tribe settled in many places but mainly in Eugene, Oregon where they lived for several centuries and had tribes that ranged from Southern Washington to Southern Oregon. The Kalapuya language is considered to be part of the Penutian family related most closely to Takelma but had many dialects that were spoken by different groups. Although Kalapuya and Takelma were the closest related languages, they couldn’t be understood by each other making it hard to communicate with members of other tribes.
Although the language once spoken by the Kalapuya language is now extinct, it was once spoken by almost 20,000 people in Oregon and Southern Washington. The dialects of Kalapuya were closely related but could not be easily understood by speakers of one of the others. It was in the North that they spoke Yamhill and Tualatin, Central where they spoke Santiam and Lakmayut, and Yoncalla was spoken in the South. In the areas closest to my home in Portland, Native Americans living near the Tualatin and Yamhill Rivers spoke the Tualatin and Yamhill dialects of Kalapuya.
Kalapuya is part of the Penutian family and is known for resembling European Languages. Ranging from British Columbia all the way south to Central America, various Penutian languages we...
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Another source related to Native American languages is a Chinook vocabulary dictionary written in 1886 used to translate things into Chinook. Although Chinook is not understandable by people who speak Kalapuya, it is from the same linguistic family and could be a vital part of history. It is somewhat a handbook to Indian Languages seeing as most languages in the Oregon area have similar words and common grammatical structure.
The Kalapuya language is now just a memory and since is not spoken anymore has become a part of history. Oregon is full of Native American history and is still home to thousands of Native American people. Although the majority of the languages spoken by Native Americans have become extinct, the ancestors and traditions have continuously been passed down and are still celebrated throughout the country today.
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