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Oregon Native Animal Words

Here are the American Indian names of six native animals of Oregon. We have given their names in three different Indian languages: Nez Perce, Shoshone, and Umatilla.

Two of these Native Oregon languages are related to the Sahaptian language family, and the other two are not. Can you guess which languages are relatives by looking at the animal names on this page? (Hint: Not every word will sound similar even in closely related languages, so you will need to look at several different animals to figure it out!) You can find the answer on this page: The Sahaptian languages.

Oregon Native Animal Names


Nez Perce: 'mes (pronounced ih-mass)
Shoshone: deheya' (pronounced duh-huh-yah)
Umatilla: tl'alk (pronounced tl-alk)

Nez Perce: telipe (pronounced teah-lih-peah)
Shoshone: waahni' (pronounced wah-nee)
Umatilla: tlipa (pronounced tlih-pah)

Nez Perce: hy'uxc (pronounced high-ookhts)
Shoshone: daa'bu (pronounced dah-boo)
Umatilla: ykws (pronounced eye-ks)

Nez Perce: tsqe' (pronounced tiss-keah)
Shoshone: buhni'atsi (pronounced boo-nee-ah-tsee)
Umatilla: tiskay (pronounced tiss-kye)

Nez Perce: lqac (pronounced law-kots)
Shoshone: bo'nai (pronounced bo-nye)
Umatilla: lakas (pronounced lah-koss)

Nez Perce: pyos (pronounced pah-yos)
Shoshone: basinu'yu (pronounced bah-see-noo-yoo)
Umatilla: pyush (pronounced puh-yoosh)

Return to our Oregon Native American homepage.