The coast Salish form the southern arm of the north west Coast culture, which fades away southward from Bute inlet and Comox (where it resembles that of the more highly developed Kwakiutl) to the semi-Californian Tillamook and the Nestucca of Oregon.

The Salish tribes are divided into two geographic areas: the Coast Salish and the Interior Salish. The Interior Salish can be further divided into the Northern and Southern branches.

The history of the Coast Salish peoples is united by shared cultural traditions, kinship ties and related languages that connected this large group of indigenous peoples on the Pacific Northwest Coast, and connecting interior regions, going back several thousand years.

Artifacts in the early stages of these cultures' formation are of great uniformity, and have a recognizable continuity that goes back in some places more than seven thousand years.

In the area where today's Coast Salish reside, in a wide coastal strip of the South Coast of British Columbia and in the Puget Sound area of the U.S. state of Washington, and in some coastal areas of Oregon, archaeological evidence of human presence dates back over ten thousand years. 

The Salishan (Salish) languages are a group of languages of the Pacific Northwest, which includes all the south mainland of British Columbia province in Canada, as far as Bute inlet and Quesnelle Lake, with the exception of that portion held by the Kutenai, although within the Kutenai area, at the Columbia lakes, is a small settlement of Salish, and including he south east part of Vancouver Island from Thurlow Island to Sooke Bay. In the United States, Salish people live in the northern portions of Washington, a small strip of the north west coast of Oregon, northern Idaho, and western Montana,. 

An isolated division of the family, the Bellacoola, had established itself farther north on Dean inlet, Burke channel, and Bellacoola River.

Although lexically distinct from one another, the Salish, Chimakuan, and Wakashan languages belong to the same structural type and have remote points of resemblance with Algonquian.

Physically and culturally the coast and interior Salish belong to different groups, the former being affiliated to some extent with the other coast people to the north, and the interior Salish resembling interior stocks in their own neighborhood.

The terms Salish and Salishan are used interchangeably by linguists and anthropologists studying Salishan cultures but this is confusing in regular English usage, because the name Salish or Selisch is the endonym of the Flathead Nation. Linguists later applied the name to related languages in the Pacific Northwest.

Juan de Fuca (1592) was probably the first white man to visit the country inhabited by Salish people.

Later British and American vessels came to trade, the most notable expedition being that of George Vancouver (1792-94), whose name became attached to Vancouver Island. The first detailed information regarding the Salishan tribes was obtained, however, from the account of the expedition of Lewis and Clark (1804-06), and knowledge of them was extended by the establishment of Astor’s fort in 1811 at the mouth of the Columbia, although the fort itself was not within Salish territory.

From that time until 1846, most of this region, known as the Oregon Territory, was a subject of dispute between Great Britain and the United States, and it was not until the after its settlement and California Gold fever had somewhat subsided that settlers began to come into this region in numbers.

On the Canadian side, employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company were among the first to enter the country. The establishment of a post at Victoria in 1843 was one of the most momentous events to the Indians of the entire coast.

The Salishan language family consists of twenty-three languages with all but two of them being concentrated together in a single large area. Below is a list of Salishan tribes, languages, dialects, and subdialects.

Neighboring groups have communicated often, to the point that it is difficult to untangle the influence each dialect and language has upon others.

A 1969 study found that "language relationships are highest and closest among the Interior Division, whereas they are most distant among the Coast Division.

The Salishan languages, principally Chehalis, contributed greatly to the vocabulary of the Chinook Jargon.

The Salishan language family consists of twenty-three languages with all but two of them being concentrated together in a single large area. 

Bella Coola

  • The Bella Coola people live in and around the town of Bella Coola, British Columbia. See: Nuxalk Nation
     

Coast Salish Tribes

  • Musqueam (Hmethkwyem) - Coast Salish in the Fraser River estuary and out to the centre of Georgia Strait. See Musqueam Indian Band (B.C., Canada)
  • K'omoks (Comox) - Coast Salish on Vancouver Island, in Comox, British Columbia and in Toba Inlet and the Malaspina Peninsula areas of the B.C. mainland across Georgia Strait. The K'omoks, along with the Klahoose, Homalco and Silammon are known as the Mainland Comox.See:
    • K'ómoks First Nation (Vancouver Island, ethnically mostly K'ómoks but cultural and by language Laich-kwil-tach)
    • Tla A'min Nation (Powell River/Malaspina Peninsula) Formerly known as Sliammon Indian Band or Sliammon First Nation. These three bands were once all one nation.
      • Klahoose -See: Klahoose First Nation, Toba Inlet, (Discovery Islands)BC, Canada
      • Homalco - Located in Bute Inlet near the upper Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, Canada. See: Homalco First Nation
      • Sliammon (Tla'amin) - See: Tla A'min Nation
  • Qualicum First Nation (in Qualicum Bay on Vancouver Island, representing people of Pentlatch descent together with some Laich-kwil-tach)
     
  • Lummi Tribe of the Lummi Reservation(Lhaq'temish)- Coast Salish in western Washington, west of Bellingham and 20 miles (32 km) south of the Canadian border.
     
  • Muckleshoot Indian Tribe- a Lushootseed tribe, part of the Coast Salish peoples of the Pacific Northwest whose traditional territory and reservation is located in the area of Auburn, Washington, about 15 miles northeast of Tacoma and 35 miles southeast of Seattle.
     
  • Puyallup Tribe of the Puyallup Reservation (Spuyaləpabš or S’Puyalupubsh) - Coast Salish from western Washington state. They were forcibly relocated onto reservation lands in what is today Tacoma, Washington.
     
  • Nisqually Indian Tribe - A Lushootseed-speaking Southern Coast Salish people from western Washington. Also see: Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation
     
  • Duwamish - A Lushootseed speaking Salish people of metropolitan Seattle, Washington. See: Tulalip Tribes of Washington
     
  • Nooksack Indian Tribe (Noxwsʼáʔaq) - A Lhéchalosem Coast Salish tribe located in northwestern Washington state near the small town of Deming. Their language became extinct in 1988, but the tribe survives.
     
  • Chehalis - The Chehalis are Coast Salish people of western Washington state. They are enrolled in the Confederated Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation and the Quinault Indian Nation. They should not be confused with the similarly named Chehalis First Nation(St'at'imc), which are Interior Salish people in British Columbia, Canada.
     
  • Malahat First Nation - Located on southeastern Vancouver Island in southwestern British Columbia, Canada. Their ancestral tongue is the Hulquminum language.
     
  • Qualicum First Nation -Located in Qualicum Bay at the mouth of the Big Qualicum River, 15 minutes north of Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Pentlach language.
     
  • Chimakum (Chemakum or Chimacum or Port Townsend Indians) - Coast Salish people who lived in the northeastern portion of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, between Hood Canal and Discovery Bay. See:
    Skokomish Indian Tribe
    Jamestown S'Klallam
    Port Gamble Band of S’Klallam Indians
     
  • Klallam (S'klallam or Clallam) - A Coast Salish subgroup. Three Klallam bands live on the Olympic Peninsula in the far northwest corner (bordering the Strait of Juan de Fuca) of Washington state, and one is based at Becher Bay on southern Vancouver Island in British Columbia. See:
    Lower Elwha Tribal Community, Washington
    Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe, Washington
    Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, Washington
    Scia'new First Nation (Becher Bay Indian Band), Vancouver Island, British Columbia
     
  • T'Sou-ke Nation - Located on Vancouver Island, in the province of British Columbia, Canada with two reserves around the Sooke Basin on the Strait of Juan de Fuca at the southern end of Vancouver Island. The language of the T'Sou-ke Nation is the T'Sou-ke dialect of SENĆOŦEN, which linguists call Northern Straits Salish.
     
  • Halalt First Nation - Located at Chemainus on southeastern Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.
     
  • Hwlitsum First Nation (Lamalchi or Lamalcha) - Traditional territories were in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada.
     
  • Lyackson First Nation - Located at Chemainus, British Columbia, Canada, on Vancouver Island.
     
  • Penelakut First Nation - Hul'qumi'num-speaking First Nation. Historically, Penelakut villages were found on Penelakut Island, Galiano Island, and on Vancouver Island near the mouth of the Chemainus River in British Columbia, Canada.
     
  • Cowichan Tribes - Band government of the Cowichan, a group of Coast Salish peoples who live in the Cowichan Valley region on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Seven nearby peoples were amalgamated into one "band."

    The Quamichan/Kw’amutsun are the largest cultural group, but the nation also includes Clemclemaluts (L’uml’umuluts), Comiaken (Qwum’yiqun’), Khenipsen (Hinupsum), Kilpahlas (Tl’ulpalus), Koksilah (Hwulqwselu), and Somena (S’amuna’).

    The Cowichan designation is derived from the name of one of several groups forming the Cowichan Tribes band government, the Quwutsun. In the 19th century this term, or the variant "Cowidgin," was applied to all Halkomelem-speaking groups and certain others such as the Skwxwu7mesh and Semiahmoo. On Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, other "Cowichan" groups include the Penelakut, Lyackson and Lamalcha.
     
  • Stz'uminus First Nation (formerly known as the Chemainus Indian Band and Chemainus First Nation) - Located in southeastern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, near the town of Ladysmith, British Columbia. They speak the Halkomelem language.
     
  • Snuneymuxw First Nation (Nanaimo) - Currently located in and around Nanaimo on east-central Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. They once occupied a wide region of south-central Vancouver Island where they lived for more than 5,000 years. Snuneymuxw Territory on the eastern coast of Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and the Fraser River in British Columbia was in the center of Coast Salish territory. Their language is the Hul’qumi’num Salish language.
     
  • Snaw-Naw-As First Nation (Nanoose First Nation) -Ooriginally this term was used for both the Snuneymuxw/Nanaimo and the group that today uses this name, at Nanoose Bay.They are one of the northern most Salish tribes on the east side of Vancouver Island.
     
  • Saanich (WSANEC) - Located on the north coast of the Gulf and San Juan Islands, southern Vancouver Island and the southern edge of the Lower Mainland in British Columbia.
     
  • Samish Indian Nation -Coast Salish from the San Juan Islands and mainland in Washington State.
     
  • Semiahmoo (SEMYOME) - Homeland is in the Lower Mainland region of southwestern British Columbia, Canada.
     
  • Snokomish - A Halkomelem-speaking Coast Salish people whose territory was located around the mouths of the Nicomekl, Serpentine Rivers at Mud Bay, a sidewater of Boundary Bay, north of today's Crescent Beach and at the mouth of the Campbell River on Semiahmoo Bay in today's city of White Rock, British Columbia, Canada. Also known as the Derby people, their territory included also a portion of the Fraser River, near Derby, British Columbia.

    They were wiped out by a smallpox epidemic in 1850, and the few survivors were absorbed into the neighbouring Semiahmoo.
     
  • Sechelt First Nations (Shishalh) - Located in four villages on British Columbia's Sunshine Coast, two in Jervis Inlet, and one each on Pender Harbour and on Sechelt Inlet. The Coast Salish language of this First Nation is sháshíshálh or Shashishalhem in English.
     
  • Siletz - This tribe was the southernmost group of the larger Coast Salish culture, which was centered near the Strait of Georgia and Puget Sound in British Columbia, Canada and Washington state in the USA. During or after the Rogue River Wars of 1855-1856, members of the tribe were moved to the Coast Indian Reservation, later called the Siletz Reservation, which was home to over 20 other tribes.Today they are known as the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon located in Oregon, USA.
     
  • Skagits
     
    • Lower Skagit Indian Tribe (Whidbey Island Skagits) See Swinomish Indian Tribal Community - In pre-Contact times, the tribe occupied approximately 56,300 acres (228 km2) of land, including land on central Whidbey Island from Dugula Bay south to Holmes Harbor (including sites at Maylor Point, Penn Cove and Coupeville), as well as sites on the mainland around the mouth of the Skagit River.
       
    • Upper Skagit Indian Tribe - Before European colonization, this tribe occupied lands along the Skagit River, from as far downstream as present-day Mount Vernon, Washington, and villages going north as far as Newhalem along the Skagit River, as well as lands on the Baker, and the Sauk rivers.
       
  • Skokomish Indian Tribe(Twana) - One of the largest of the nine different Twana speaking Salish village communities that existed before about 1860 in western Washington along Hood Canal, a fjord-like inlet on the west side of the Kitsap Peninsula and the Puget Sound basin.
     
  • Swinomish Indian Tribal Community - Lushootseed-speaking Coast Salish located in the southeastern part of Fidalgo Island in northern Puget Sound, near the San Juan Islands, in Skagit County, Washington, about 70 miles north of Seattle.
     
  • Snohomish (Sduhubš) - Located around the Puget Sound area of Washington, north of Seattle. They speak the Lushootseed language.
     
  • Snoqualmie Indian Tribe (Sduqwalbixw) - A southern Coast Salish Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Their homelands span the Snoqualmie Valley in east King and Snohomish Counties in Washington state. Also see: Tulalip Tribes of Washington
     
  • Songhees First Nation(Lekwungen) - North Straits Salish who reside on southeastern Vancouver Island, British Columbia in the Greater Victoria area.
     
  • Squamish Nation - Located in southwestern British Columbia, Canada. Their traditional territory covered Point Grey as the southern border. From there, it continued northward to Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast, up the Howe Sound. The northern part included the Squamish, Cheakamus, Elaho and Mamquam rivers. Up the Cheakamus River it included land past Whistler, British Columbia. The southern and eastern part of their territory included Indian Arm, along Burrard Inlet, through False Creek then English Bay and Point Grey. Today the Squamish people live mostly in seven communities, located in West Vancouver, North Vancouver, and within and nearby to the District of Squamish.
     
  • Squaxin Island Tribe of the Squaxin Island Reservation - Is made up of several Lushootseed speaking clans living along several inlets of southern Puget Sound:
    • In the Sahewamish (Sa-Heh-Wa-Mish / Sahe'wabsh) of Hammersley Inlet (Big Skookum) watershed (between Oakland Bay and Shelton Inlet to the Nisqually River and Allister (Medicine) Creek, there were about six villages, including the main village of Sahe'wabsh at Arcadia, Washington, and a village opposite the town of Shelton, Washington, main group of the modern Squaxin Island Tribe, sometimes identified as a subgroup of the Nisqually people). 
       
    • the Noo-Seh-Chatl / Noosehchatle of Henderson Inlet watershed (their main village Tuts'e'tcaxt / Tutse'tcakl was in the Woodard Bay area on the western shore of the inlet, a subdivision of the Sahewamish/Sa-Heh-Wa-Mish/ Sahe'wabsh tribe, therefore sometimes identified as a subgroup of the Nisqually people).
       
    • the Steh-Chass / Statca'sabsh of Budd Inlet watershed (southernmost arm of Puget Sound, lived along the Deschutes River - former Steh-Chass River, their main village was Bus-chuthwud at todays Tumwater, Washington, a subdivision of the Sahewamish/Sa-Heh-Wa-Mish/ Sahe'wabsh tribe, therefore sometimes identified as a subgroup of the Nisqually people). 
       
    • the Squi-Aitl / Skwayaithlhabsh of Eld Inlet watershed or Mud Bay (a subdivision of the Sahewamish/Sa-Heh-Wa-Mish/ Sahe'wabsh tribe, therefore sometimes identified as a subgroup of the Nisqually people). 
       
    • the T’Peeksin / Tapi'ksdabsh of Totten Inlet watershed (their main village was on Oyster Bay or Totten Inlet below the town of Oyster Bay, a subdivision of the Sahewamish/Sa-Heh-Wa-Mish/ Sahe'wabsh tribe, therefore sometimes identified as a subgroup of the Nisqually people). 
       
    • the Squawksin of Case Inlet watershed.
       
    • the S’Hotle-Ma-Mish of Carr Inlet watershed.
       
     
  • Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians of Washington - Located in northwest Washington state in the United States near the city of Arlington, Washington, near the river that bears their name. Stillaguamish people today are descendents of the Stoluck-wa-mish River Tribe, who lived along the Stillaguamish River in the 1850s. Also See: Tulalip Tribes of Washington
     
  • Stó:lõ - Commonly referred to as the Fraser River Indians or Lower Fraser Salish, are a group of First Nations peoples inhabiting the Fraser Valley and lower Fraser Canyon of British Columbia, Canada.
     
    • Aitchelitz First Nation - Located at Sardis, British Columbia, Canada (Chilliwack).  
       
    • Chawathil First Nation - Located in the Upper Fraser Valley region near Hope, British Columbia, Canada.  
       
    • Cheam Indian Band - In the Upper Fraser Valley region of British Columbia, Canada, located near the community of Rosedale. They traditionally speak the Upriver dialect of Halkomelem. 
       
    • Kwantlen First Nation - Located primarily in Fort Langley, British Columbia, Canada. The Kwantlen traditionally speak the Downriver dialect of Halkomelem. 
       
    • Kwikwetlem First Nation, also known as the Coquitlam Indian Band - Located in the Coquitlam area of British Columbia, Canada. They traditionally speak the Downriver dialect of Halkomelem.
       
    • Katzie First Nation - Located in the Lower Fraser Valley in British Columbia, Canada. The Katzie historically spoke Halqemeylem, the Upriver Dialect of Halkomelem. raditional Katzie territory includes the entire Pitt watershed, including the Alouette watershed, the Fraser River and lands adjacent down to Point Roberts, and lands between the Fraser and Boundary Bay. 
       
    • Leq' a: mel First Nation, formerly known as the Lakahahmen First Nation - Located in the area near Deroche, British Columbia, Canada, about 12 kilometres east of the District of Mission.
       
    • Matsqui First Nation - Located in the Central Fraser Valley region, at Matsqui, in the northern part of Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.
       
    • Popkum First Nation - Located in the Upper Fraser Valley region, at Popkum, northeast of Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada.
       
    • Seabird Island First Nation - Located on Sea Bird Island in the Upper Fraser Valley region, 3 km east of Agassiz, British Columbia, Canada.
       
    • Skawahlook First Nation, formerly the Tait Indian Band - Located in the Upper Fraser Valley region of British Columbia, Canada, near the community of Ruby Creek, which is at the eastern end of the District of Kent.
       
    • Shxw'ow'hamel First Nation - Located in the Upper Fraser Valley region near Hope, British Columbia, Canada.
       
    • Skway First Nation, (officially Shxwhá:y Village) - Located in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada near the city of Chilliwack. They traditionally speak the Upriver dialect of Halkomelem. Not to be confused withthe Skwah people who live in the same area but are a different band.
       
    • Skowkale First Nation - Located in the Upper Fraser Valley region, near Sardis, part of Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada.
       
    • Skwah First Nation - Located in the area of the City of Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada. 
       
    • Soowahlie First Nation - Located in the Upper Fraser Valley region at Cultus Lake, British Columbia, Canada.
       
    • Chehalis First Nation (Sts'Ailes in their language) - Located in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia, Canada. Their Reserve lands are at Chehalis, which is on the lower Harrison River between the towns of Mission and Agassiz. Their usual English name, Chehalis, is identical to that of the much more numerous Chehalis people of southern Puget Sound in Washington. By Sts'ailes tradition, the southern Chehalis were separated from their homeland as a consequence of the Great Flood.
       
    • Sumas First Nation (Sema:th) - Located in the Upper Fraser Valley region, at the community of Kilgard aka Upper Sumas, part of Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.
       
    • Tzeachten First Nation - Located in the Upper Fraser Valley region near Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada.
       
    • Yakweakwioose First Nation - Located in the Upper Fraser Valley region at Sardis, near Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada.
       
  • Suquamish Indian Tribe of the Port Madison Reservation (Suqwabš) - Lushootseed-speaking people located in present-day Washington state in the USA.
     
  • Swinomish Indian Tribal Community - Historically Lushootseed-speaking Native American people in western Washington state in the United States. The Tribe lives in the southeastern part of Fidalgo Island in northern Puget Sound, near the San Juan Islands, in Skagit County, Washington. Skagit County is located about 70 miles (110 km) north of Seattle.
     
  • Tsawwassen First Nation - Located in the Greater Vancouver area of the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada, adjacent to the South Arm of the Fraser River and the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal and just north of the international boundary with the United States at Point Roberts, Washington.
     
  • Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, formerly known as the Burrard Indian Band - The Tsleil-Waututh are Coast Salish people who speak the Downriver dialect of the Halkomelem language, and are closely related to but politically separate from the nearby nations of the Squamish and Hwmethkwyem (Musqueam), with whose traditional territories some claims overlap. Located in British Columbia, Canada.
     
  • Tulalip Tribes of Washington (dxwlilap) - A federally recognized tribe of Tulalip, Duwamish, Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Skagit, Suiattle, Samish, and Stillaguamish people. They are South and Central Coast Salish peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Their tribes are located in the mid-Puget Sound region of Washington state.
     

Interior Salish Tribes

Northern

Secwepemc, also known as Shuswap, Secwepemctsín, səxwəpməxcín (ʃəxwəpməxtʃín)

St'at'imc, also known as Lillooet, Stlʼatlʼimx, Stlʼatlʼimc, Sƛ’aƛ’imxǝc (Stʼatʼimcets, also known as Ucwalmicwts)

Nlaka'pamux, also known as Thompson River Salish, Ntlakapmuk, Ntleʼkepmxcín, Thompson River, Thompson Salish, Thompson, known in frontier times as the Hakamaugh, Klackarpun, Couteau or Knife Indians

Southern

Colville, Sanpoil, Okanagan, Sinixt (Senjextee, Sin Aikst, or Lakes Band), and Methow, all of whom speak Nxsəlxcin. See: Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation

Entiat, Wenatchi, and Chelan, all of whom speak Columbia-Moses, also known as Nxaảmxcín, Sinkiuse-Columbia, Sinkiuse, Columbia. See: Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation

Spokane, Kalispel, and the Flathead, including the Bitterroot, all of whom speak Montana Salish. See:
Spokane Tribe of the Spokane Reservation
Kalispel Indian Community of the Kalispel Reservation
Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation
Kootenai Tribes of Idaho

Coeur D'Alene Tribe, also known as Schitsu'umsh or Skitswish (Coeur d'Alene language). See: Coeur D’Alene Tribe of the Coeur D’Alene Reservation