Non-Native teaching Quileute tongue-twisting language

LAPUSH — Every word spoken in Quileute breathes new life into the ancient Native American language.

That’s the perception of anthropologist Jay Powell, who has taught two five-week “crash courses” in Quileute — properly pronounced Kwil-LAY-yute — at LaPush and who hopes to teach two more.

Without energetic efforts by tribal members and their teacher, the language could disappear.

Three, perhaps four, people can speak Quileute fluently.

When they are gone, all that remains will be phrases, greetings, ceremonies and songs.

Even those could vanish if it weren’t for the tribe’s hiring Powell to help teach and record the language.

Powell and his wife, Vickie Jensen, have worked with the outer coastal tribe since 1968, when 50 Quileute could speak their native language fluently — and the 600 other tribal members could not.

Powell’s efforts also have helped the tribe publish its first book, a dictionary that is expected to be released today to tribal members.

More in News

Spencer Weber
A scene from the photo archives of the Northwest Maritime Center's Race to Alaska looks deceptively serene. The 750-mile race of unmotorized watercraft from Port Townsend to Ketchikan is on again this year.
Race to Alaska ready to sail

Contest resumes after two-year hiatus

Timber sale, block grants discussed at county meetings

Government entities meet next week on North Olympic Peninsula

Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group

The Rev. ClayOla Gitane, rector at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, places signs and teddy bears in memory of the 21 victims of Tuesday's mass shooting in Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
Church hosts candlelight service for Texas school shooting victims

Prayer vigil tonight will include an interfaith service

NWI: Purchase protects Discovery Creek headwaters

Ninety-one acres bought from Rayonier

Dr. Gib Morrow, Dr. Allison Berry and OESD Superintendent Greg Lynch.
Public health officers honored for COVID-19 work

Greg Lynch, superintendent at the Olympic Educational Service District 114,… Continue reading

Charges to be urged after report of toy guns at schools

Students allegedly pose on campuses over weekend

Memorial Day edition available online only

Memorial Day is a federal holiday and the U.S. Postal Service does… Continue reading

Memorial Day ceremonies set Monday

Flags to be placed on veterans’ graves on Saturday

Most Read