Salish, Salishan, Salish Sea

The name Salish refers to the Indigenous peoples who have lived for millennia in the Pacific Northwest. Their language group is known as Salishan, a word meaning “the great and mighty people.”

  • In previous centuries, the Coast Salish peoples communicated by means of a trading language called the Chinook Jargon.
  • The Salishan language group includes over 20 languages.

The name Salish Sea (in French, mer des Salish) was adopted in 2010 to refer to the inland marine waters surrounding the southern part of Vancouver Island and extending south. Salish Sea is an overarching name (similar to Great Lakes) and will not replace the traditional names for these marine waters on maps.

  • The Salish Sea includes Puget Sound, Juan de Fuca Strait, the Strait of Georgia and the channels between them.

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