heritage & Culture

Muckleshoot Language

Keeping Our Language Alive

The Muckleshoot language is a dialect of Puget Salish, or Lushootseed. It belongs to the eastern Puget Sound groups, including Nisqually, Puyallup, Suquamish, Duwamish, Squaxin, Stillaquamish, Snoqualmie, Skykomish, Snohomish, and Skagit. Many Lummi, Nooksack, Yakama, and Twana also knew the language.

Lushootseed is quite different from the English language, containing several sounds without English equivalent letters. One Native word can mean an entire sentence or concept in English. The alphabet consists of 41 sounds.

The Lushootseed language was nearly lost through the forced assimilation of the boarding school era beginning in the early 1890s. Today, Muckleshoot, as well as many other Coast Salish Tribes, are working to restore and preserve Lushootseed by developing robust language and culture programs that teach our youth and keep our Native language alive.

Learn more about our language at MuckleshootLanguage.com, where you can find lessons, songs, and podcasts dedicated to Lushootseed.