Quileute love poem
Pikcha'lich okilh xi' olho'c'ho',l
Hixas so'o kaxayot k'wa'ichxw alhits-s.pl
Dakilh, kwolh axw! Wa'alishi'ixaxw
Hixas yicha “K'iowopatilawo'li ti'l, t'sosa' t'solo'op'ol.”
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My love poem translated into Quileute (Quillayute, Quilliute, Hoh) with my thanks for the Quileute Tribal Council and Jackie Jacobs.
Quileute is one of the two languages of the Chemakuan family. It was spoken on the west coast of the Olympic Peninsula in northwest of Washington, in an area south of Makah and north of Quinault. Today, the Quileutes live on the reserves (La Push) and Lower Hoh River.
This Native American chimakuan language is spoken along Quileute and Hoh rivers, is nearly extinct, and its small number of speakers puts it in real danger.
In general, the Quileute language is not linked to any other existing language; It has something unique, since it is one of the five languages in the world that does not have the nasal sounds m and n.
I invite you to visit their tribe's website, to get information about their nation and their language.
For them as for other groups, it is really vital to succeed in preserving this diversity which is the richness of humanity.
The Quileutes (Quillayute) live to the west of the Washington state and are now a tiny group of 1,800 people.
In the Quileute tradition, it is Kwati who arriving on the Olympic peninsula, and seeing two wolves, transformed them into Quileute. This is the starting point of the Quileute people.
In any case myth or not, it is proven that the Quileutes have occupied this land for thousands of years. In fact, the land they once occupied was much larger, since it included all of James Island and the neighboring coast.
The Quileutes, who have gradually seen the elimination of the closest tribes, live quite isolated from other peoples and in any case, do not directly descend from any existing tribe. This isolation, even if their community is not very large in number, leaves it very active.
We know that they met the Europeans around 1800. The latter soon gave them new lands and finally the current reserves and with the rights that their reserves give to them (the right to hunt, gather, fish, and little autonomy linked to a tribal council.
Today, their traditional life continues, and in addition to being hunters (seals) and fishermen (whaling), they are excellent craftsmen who make their pirogues, canoes and boats for deep sea fishing.
The nature that surrounds them gives them everything they need, down to the bark of cedars for multiple uses, even clothing.
Nevertheless, modernity has largely eroded their old ways of doing things, but festivals such as potlatches are perpetuated, and bring together the tribes of the neighborhood for several days.
During these potlatches, against a backdrop of dance songs where the participants are masked, they exchange gifts, and take advantage of this special time to transmit to younger generations, through these songs and tales, an ancestral oral tradition.
The supernatural, with the spirits and the importance of the wolf at the origin of their people, is part of the rituals that can be found in their festivals.