Tribes by Language


At the time of Columbus' arrival, America had a population of 75,000,000 people that spoke 2,000 languages in North, Central, and South America. In the world today, approximately 6,000 languages are spoken, and only about 600 languages are expected to survive this century.

There are more than 800 indigenous languages in the Western Hemisphere. In the US, 165 native american languages are still spoken.

Seventy-four native american languages are almost extinct, with only a handful of elderly speakers. Fifty-eight indigenous languages have fewer than 1,000 fluent speakers, twenty-five have 1,000-10,000 speakers, and only 8 native american languages have more than 10,000 speakers.

Many indigenous languages of the Americas are endangered, and many others are extinct, with no living native speakers.

Language scholars estimate that before the time of Columbus, over 300 languages were spoken in North America north of Mexico. Since then, that number has dropped to about 175 indigenous languages.

One estimate predicts that number will dwindle to less than 20 by the year 2050.

When our children were sent to government boarding schools, they were severely punished for speaking our native languages, and over time many of them were nearly forgotten.

We believe that languages have a spirit all their own.It is our vision for the future to once again hear whole generations of native people fluently speaking thier native languages. For as long as one person speaks a language, that language's people and traditions and history will survive and thrive.

The classification below is a composite of Goddard (1996), Campbell (1997), and Mithun (1999).

Native American Languages in the United States

Adai †
Algic

Algonquian(42)

Carolina Algonquian (United States) (also known as Pamlico, Pamtico, Pampticough, Christianna Algonquian) †
Central Algonquian(23)

Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi (9)

Atikamekw (Canada)
Moose Cree (Canada)
Northern East Cree (Canada)
Plains Cree (Canada)
Southern East Cree (Canada)
Swampy Cree (Canada)
Woods Cree (Canada)
Montagnais (Canada)
Naskapi (Canada)

Ojibwa (8)

Algonquin (Canada)
Chippewa (United States)
Central Ojibwa (Canada)
Eastern Ojibwa(Canada)
Northwestern Ojibwa (Canada)
Severn Ojibwa (Canada)
Western Ojibwa (Canada)
Ottawa (Canada)

Kickapoo (United States)
Menominee (United States)
Meskwaki (United States)
Miami (United States) (aka Illinois and Illinois-Miami) (Officially extinct but a revitalization program is in progress since an extensive dictionary exists)
Potawatomi (United States)
Shawnee (United States)

Eastern Algonquian(10)

Delaware
Munsee
Unami (also known as Lenape) †

Northern Unami
Southern Unami
Unalachtigo

Eastern Abnaki,(United States)(also known as Abenaki or Abenaki-Penobscot)

Penobscot (also known as Old Town or Old Town Penobscot)
Caniba
Aroosagunticook
Pigwacket

Etchemin (uncertain) †
Loup A (probably Nipmuck) (uncertain) †
Loup B (Uncertain) †
Western Abnaki (Canada) (also known as Abnaki, St. Francis, Abenaki, or Abenaki-Penobscot)
Malecite-Passamaquoddy (Canada) (also known as Maliseet-Passamquoddy)

Maliseet (also known as Malecite)
Passamaquoddy

Massachusett (United States) †

North Shore (United States)
Natick (United States)
Wampanoag (United States)
Nauset (United States)
Cowesit (United States)

Micmac (Canada and United States) (also known as Mic Mac, Mi’kmaq, Mi’gmaq, or Mi’kmaw)
Mohegan-Montauk-Narragansett (United States) (aka Mohegan-Pequot-Montauk)

Mohegan †
Montauk
Narragansett †
Niantic
Pequot †
Shinnecock (uncertain) †

Munsee (Canada)
Nanticoke (United States)

Nanticoke †
Piscataway (also known as Conoy)
Choptank

Powhatan (United States) (also known as Virginia Algonquian) †
Quiripi-Naugatuck-Unquachog

Quiripi (also known as Quinnipiak or Connecticut) †
Naugatuck †
Unquachog †

Plains Algonquian (5)

Arapaho (3)

Arapaho (Heenetiit) (United States)
Gros Ventre (United States)
Nawathinehena (United States)

Blackfoot (Canada) and Blackfeet (United States)
Cheyenne (United States)

Mahican (also known as Mohican) (Extinct)

Moravian
Stockbridge

Piscataway (United States)
Unclassified (1)

Lumbee (United States)

Wiyot(1)

Wiyot (United States) †

Yurok(1)

Yurok (United States)

Alsean (2) †
Atakapa †
Beothuk †
Caddoan (Macro-Siouan?)(5)

Northern Caddoan (4)

Pawnee-Kitsai (3)

Kitsai (1) (a.k.a. Kichai)

Kitsai (USA)

Pawnee (2)

Arikara (USA) (a.k.a. Ree)
Pawnee (USA) (dialects: South Bend, Skiri (a.k.a. Skidi or Wolf Band))

Wichita (1)

Wichita (USA) (dialects: Wichita proper, Waco, Towakoni)

Southern Caddoan (1)

Caddo (USA) (dialects: Kadohadacho, Hasinai, Natchitoches, Yatasi)

Cayuse †
Chimakuan (2)

Chimakum (USA)
Quileute (USA)

Chimariko †
Chinookan (3)

Kathlamet (a.k.a. Katlamat, Cathlamet)
Lower Chinook (a.k.a. Coastal Chinook)

Clatsop (USA)
Shoalwater (a.k.a. Chinook proper) (USA)

Upper Chinook (a.k.a. Kiksht, Columbia Chinook)

Cascades (USA)
Clackamas (USA)
Hood River (USA)
Multnomah (USA)
Wasco-Wishram (2)

Wasco (USA)
Wishram (USA)

White Salmon (USA)

Chitimacha †
Chumashan (7)

Barbareño (USA)
Chumash (USA) †
Cruzeño (USA)
Ineseño (USA)
Obispeño (USA)
Purisimeño (USA)
Ventureño (USA)

Coahuilteco †
Comecrudan (United States & Mexico) (3) †

Comecrudo (a.k.a. Mulato or Carrizo)
Garza
Mamulique (a.k.a. Carrizo de Mamulique)

Coosan (2) † (This language has been moved to Penutian.)

Hanis
Miluk (also known as Lower Coquille)

Creole Language Family
Cotoname †
Eskimo–Aleut (7) (also called Eskaleut)

Aleut

Western-Central

Atkan
Attuan
Unangan
Bering

Eastern

Unalaskan
Pribilof

Eskimo(Yupik-Inuit languages)

Yupik (or Yup'ik)

Central Alaskan Yup'ik

Yugtun Alutiiq (Pacific Gulf Yup'ik)
Central Siberian Yupik (Yuit or Chaplinon and St. Lawrence Island)
Naukan
Qawiaraq(Seward Peninsula)
Chaplinski Sirenik † (viewed as an independent branch by some)

Inuit

Inupiaq or Inupiat (northern Alaska)
Inuvialuktun (western Canada)
Kangiryuarmiutun (Ulukhaktok sometimes listed as Inuinnaqtun)
Siglitun (Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour, Tuktoyaktuk)
Uummarmiutun (Aklavik, Inuvik from Inupiaq)
Inuktitut (eastern Canada)
Nunatsiavummiutut (Nunatsiavut)
Inuttitut (Nunavik)
Kalaallisut (Greenland)
Inuktun (Avanersuarmiutut)East Greenlandic (Tunumiit oraasiat)

Hokan (23)

Esselen-Yuman (10)

Esselen † (1)

Esselen (United States)

Yuman (9)

Cochimi (1)

Cochimi (Mexico)

Delta-Californian (2)

Cocopa (Mexico)
Kumiai (Mexico)

Kiliwa (1)

Kiliwa (Mexico)

Pai (1)

Paipai (Mexico)

River Yuman (3)

Maricopa (United States)
Mohave (United States)
Quechan (United States)

Upland Yuman (1)

Havasupai-Walapai-Yavapai (United States)

Northern (12)

Karok-Shasta (4)

Shasta-Palaihnihan (3)

Palaihnihan (2)
Shastan (1)

Karok

Pomo (7)

Russian River and Eastern (6)

Eastern (1)
Russian River (5)

Southeastern (1)

Southeastern Pomo (United States)

Chimariko (United States)

Washo (1)

Washo (United States)

Iroquoian (11)

Northern Iroquoian

Lakes Iroquoian

Five Nations and Susquehannock

Seneca-Onondaga

Seneca-Cayuga

Seneca
Cayuga

Onodaga

Mohawk-Oneida

Oneida
Mohawk

Susquehannock †

Huronian

Wyandot (Huron-Petun)†
Neutral †
Erie †

Tuscarora-Nottoway

Tuscarora (seriously endangered)
Nottoway †

Southern Iroquoian

Cherokee

Kalapuyan (3) †
Karankawa †
Karuk
Keresan (2)

Eastern Keres
Western Keres

Kutenai
Maiduan (4)
Muskogean (9)

Western Muskogean

Chickasaw
Choctaw

Central Muskogean

Alabama (alternate name: Alibamu
Apalachee †
Hitchiti-Mikisaki
Koasati (alternate name: Coushatta)

Eastern Muskogean

Creek (alternate names: Muskogee, Maskoke, Seminole)

Na-Dene (47)

Haida (2)

Northern Haida (Canada)
Sothern Haida (Canada)

Nuclear Na-Dene (45)

Athapaskan-Eyak (44)

Athapaskan (43)

Apachean (6)

Kiowa Apache (1)

Apache, Kiowa [apk] (United States)

Navajo-Apache (5)

Eastern Apache (3)

Apache, Jicarilla (United States)
Apache, Lipan (United States)
Apache, Mescalero-Chiricahua (United States)

Western Apache-Navajo (2)

Apache, Western (United States)
Navajo (United States)

Canadian (13)

Beaver-Sekani (2)

Beaver(Canada)
Sekani (Canada)

Carrier-Chilcotin (4)

Babine-Carrier (3)

Babine (Canada)
Carrier

Southern Carrier(Canada)

Chilcotin (1)
Han-Kutchin (2)

Gwich'in(Canada)
Han (USA)

Hare-Chipewyan (4)
Sarcee (1)

Ingalik-Koyukon (3)

Ingalik (1)
Koyukon-Holikachuk (2)

Pacific Coast (9)

California (4)
Oregon (5)

Tahltan-Kaska (3)

Kaska (Canada)
Tahltan(Canada)
Tagish(Canada)

Tanaina-Ahtna (2)

Ahtena (USA)
Tanaina(USA)

Tanana-Upper Kuskokwim (4)

Tanana (3)
Upper Kuskokwim (1)

Tutchone (2)

Southern Tutchone(Canada)
Northern Tutchone(Canada)

Tstsaut(Canada)

Eyak (1)
Eyak(USA)
Tlingit (1)

Tlingit (USA)

Natchez †
Palaihnihan (2)
Plateau Penutian (4) (also known as Shahapwailutan)
Pomoan (7)
Salinan †
Salishan (23)
Shastan (4) †
Siouan–Catawban (19)
Siuslaw †
Solano †
Takelma †
Tanoan (7)

Tanoan-Kiowa

Timucua †
Tonkawa †
Tsimshianic (2)
Tunica †
Utian (15) (also known as Miwok–Costanoan)
Uto-Aztecan (33)
Wakashan (7)
Wappo †
Washo
Wintuan (4)
Yana †
Yokutsan (3)
Yuchi
Yuki †
Yuman (11)
Zuni

† = Extinct languages
Unclassified Languages:
Campbell et al. (2007) list the following extinct and nearly unattested language varieties of North America as unclassifiable due to lack of data.

Eyeish
Coree
Sewee
Cusabo
Shoccoree-Eno (see Eno people)
Pascagoula
Quinipissa
Opelousa
Pedee
Bayogoula
Okelousa
Congaree
Winyaw (see Winyaw)
Santee (see Santee tribe. distinguish Santee Sioux)
Okchai-Chacato (see Okchai, Chatot people)
Tequesta
Guale
Sanan
Yamasee
Akokisa
Avoyel
Tocobaga (see Tocobaga)
Houma
Neusiok (see Neusiok people)
Ubate
Cape Fear
Pensacola (see Pensacola people)
Bidai
Wateree (see Wateree people)
Mobile
Michigamea
Pakana
Saxapahaw
Keyauwee
Guachichil *
Suma-Jumano * (see Suma & Jumanos)
Huite *
Concho *
Jova *
Acaxee * (see Acaxee)
Xixime (Jijime) *
Zacatec * (see Zacatecos; perhaps the same as Acaxee)
Tahue *
Guasave *
Toboso * (see Tobosos)

* Ethnographic evidences suggests these varieties might have been Uto-Aztecan

===========================================

At the time of Columbus' arrival, America had a population of 75,000,000 people that spoke 2,000 languages in North, Central, and South America. In the world today, approximately 6,000 languages are spoken, and only about 600 languages are expected to survive this century. There are more than 800 indigenous languages in the Western Hemisphere. In the US, 165 native american languages are still spoken.
Seventy-four native american languages are almost extinct, with only a handful of elderly speakers. Fifty-eight indigenous languages have fewer than 1,000 fluent speakers, twenty-five have 1,000-10,000 speakers, and only 8 native american languages have more than 10,000 speakers.
Language scholars estimate that before the time of Columbus, over 300 languages were spoken in North America north of Mexico. Since then, that number has dropped to about 175 indigenous languages. One estimate predicts that number will dwindle to less than 20 by the year 2050. When our children were sent to government boarding schools, they were severely punished for speaking our native languages, and over time many of them were nearly forgotten. Many indigenous languages of the Americas are endangered, and many others are extinct, with no living native speakers. We believe that languages have a spirit all their own.It is our vision for the future to once again hear whole generations of native people fluently speaking thier native languages. For as long as one person speaks a language, that language's people and traditions and history will survive and thrive.
The classification below is a composite of Goddard (1996), Campbell (1997), and Mithun (1999).
Native American Languages in the United States

Adai †
Algic

Algonquian(42)

Carolina Algonquian (United States) (also known as Pamlico, Pamtico, Pampticough, Christianna Algonquian) †
Central Algonquian(23)

Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi (9)

Atikamekw (Canada)
Moose Cree (Canada)
Northern East Cree (Canada)
Plains Cree (Canada)
Southern East Cree (Canada)
Swampy Cree (Canada)
Woods Cree (Canada)
Montagnais (Canada)
Naskapi (Canada)

Ojibwa (8)

Algonquin (Canada)
Chippewa (United States)
Central Ojibwa (Canada)
Eastern Ojibwa(Canada)
Northwestern Ojibwa (Canada)
Severn Ojibwa (Canada)
Western Ojibwa (Canada)
Ottawa (Canada)

Kickapoo (United States)
Menominee (United States)
Meskwaki (United States)
Miami (United States) (aka Illinois and Illinois-Miami) (Officially extinct but a revitalization program is in progress since an extensive dictionary exists)
Potawatomi (United States)
Shawnee (United States)

Eastern Algonquian(10)

Delaware
Munsee
Unami (also known as Lenape) †

Northern Unami
Southern Unami
Unalachtigo

Eastern Abnaki,(United States)(also known as Abenaki or Abenaki-Penobscot)

Penobscot (also known as Old Town or Old Town Penobscot)
Caniba
Aroosagunticook
Pigwacket

Etchemin (uncertain) †
Loup A (probably Nipmuck) (uncertain) †
Loup B (Uncertain) †
Western Abnaki (Canada) (also known as Abnaki, St. Francis, Abenaki, or Abenaki-Penobscot)
Malecite-Passamaquoddy (Canada) (also known as Maliseet-Passamquoddy)

Maliseet (also known as Malecite)
Passamaquoddy

Massachusett (United States) †

North Shore (United States)
Natick (United States)
Wampanoag (United States)
Nauset (United States)
Cowesit (United States)

Micmac (Canada and United States) (also known as Mic Mac, Mi’kmaq, Mi’gmaq, or Mi’kmaw)
Mohegan-Montauk-Narragansett (United States) (aka Mohegan-Pequot-Montauk)

Mohegan †
Montauk
Narragansett †
Niantic
Pequot †
Shinnecock (uncertain) †

Munsee (Canada)
Nanticoke (United States)

Nanticoke †
Piscataway (also known as Conoy)
Choptank

Powhatan (United States) (also known as Virginia Algonquian) †
Quiripi-Naugatuck-Unquachog

Quiripi (also known as Quinnipiak or Connecticut) †
Naugatuck †
Unquachog †

Plains Algonquian (5)

Arapaho (3)

Arapaho (United States)
Gros Ventre (United States)
Nawathinehena (United States)

Blackfoot (Canada) and Blackfeet (United States)
Cheyenne (United States)

Mahican (also known as Mohican) (Extinct)

Moravian
Stockbridge

Piscataway (United States)
Unclassified (1)

Lumbee (United States)

Wiyot(1)

Wiyot (United States) †

Yurok(1)

Yurok (United States)

Alsean (2) †
Atakapa †
Beothuk †
Caddoan (Macro-Siouan?)(5)

Northern Caddoan (4)

Pawnee-Kitsai (3)

Kitsai (1) (a.k.a. Kichai)

Kitsai (USA)

Pawnee (2)

Arikara (USA) (a.k.a. Ree)
Pawnee (USA) (dialects: South Bend, Skiri (a.k.a. Skidi or Wolf Band))

Wichita (1)

Wichita (USA) (dialects: Wichita proper, Waco, Towakoni)

Southern Caddoan (1)

Caddo (USA) (dialects: Kadohadacho, Hasinai, Natchitoches, Yatasi)

Cayuse †
Chimakuan (2)

Chimakum (USA)
Quileute (USA)

Chimariko †
Chinookan (3)

Kathlamet (a.k.a. Katlamat, Cathlamet)
Lower Chinook (a.k.a. Coastal Chinook)

Clatsop (USA)
Shoalwater (a.k.a. Chinook proper) (USA)

Upper Chinook (a.k.a. Kiksht, Columbia Chinook)

Cascades (USA)
Clackamas (USA)
Hood River (USA)
Multnomah (USA)
Wasco-Wishram (2)

Wasco (USA)
Wishram (USA)

White Salmon (USA)

Chitimacha †
Chumashan (7)

Barbareño (USA)
Chumash (USA) †
Cruzeño (USA)
Ineseño (USA)
Obispeño (USA)
Purisimeño (USA)
Ventureño (USA)

Coahuilteco †
Comecrudan (United States & Mexico) (3) †

Comecrudo (a.k.a. Mulato or Carrizo)
Garza
Mamulique (a.k.a. Carrizo de Mamulique)

Coosan (2) † (This language has been moved to Penutian.)

Hanis
Miluk (also known as Lower Coquille)

Creole Language Family
Cotoname †
Eskimo–Aleut (7) (also called Eskaleut)

Aleut

Western-Central

Atkan
Attuan
Unangan
Bering

Eastern

Unalaskan
Pribilof

Eskimo(Yupik-Inuit languages)

Yupik (or Yup'ik)

Central Alaskan Yup'ik

Yugtun Alutiiq (Pacific Gulf Yup'ik)
Central Siberian Yupik (Yuit or Chaplinon and St. Lawrence Island)
Naukan
Qawiaraq(Seward Peninsula)
Chaplinski Sirenik † (viewed as an independent branch by some)

Inuit

Inupiaq or Inupiat (northern Alaska)
Inuvialuktun (western Canada)
Kangiryuarmiutun (Ulukhaktok sometimes listed as Inuinnaqtun)
Siglitun (Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour, Tuktoyaktuk)
Uummarmiutun (Aklavik, Inuvik from Inupiaq)
Inuktitut (eastern Canada)
Nunatsiavummiutut (Nunatsiavut)
Inuttitut (Nunavik)
Kalaallisut (Greenland)
Inuktun (Avanersuarmiutut)East Greenlandic (Tunumiit oraasiat)

Hokan (23)

Esselen-Yuman (10)

Esselen † (1)

Esselen (United States)

Yuman (9)

Cochimi (1)

Cochimi (Mexico)

Delta-Californian (2)

Cocopa (Mexico)
Kumiai (Mexico)

Kiliwa (1)

Kiliwa (Mexico)

Pai (1)

Paipai (Mexico)

River Yuman (3)

Maricopa (United States)
Mohave (United States)
Quechan (United States)

Upland Yuman (1)

Havasupai-Walapai-Yavapai (United States)

Northern (12)

Karok-Shasta (4)

Shasta-Palaihnihan (3)

Palaihnihan (2)
Shastan (1)

Karok

Pomo (7)

Russian River and Eastern (6)

Eastern (1)
Russian River (5)

Southeastern (1)

Southeastern Pomo (United States)

Chimariko (United States)

Washo (1)

Washo (United States)

Iroquoian (11)

Northern Iroquoian

Lakes Iroquoian

Five Nations and Susquehannock

Seneca-Onondaga

Seneca-Cayuga

Seneca
Cayuga

Onodaga

Mohawk-Oneida

Oneida
Mohawk

Susquehannock †

Huronian

Wyandot (Huron-Petun)†
Neutral †
Erie †

Tuscarora-Nottoway

Tuscarora (seriously endangered)
Nottoway †

Southern Iroquoian

Cherokee

Kalapuyan (3) †
Karankawa †
Karuk
Keresan (2)

Eastern Keres
Western Keres

Kutenai
Maiduan (4)
Muskogean (9)

Western Muskogean

Chickasaw
Choctaw

Central Muskogean

Alabama (alternate name: Alibamu
Apalachee †
Hitchiti-Mikisaki
Koasati (alternate name: Coushatta)

Eastern Muskogean

Creek (alternate names: Muskogee, Maskoke, Seminole)

Na-Dene (47)

Haida (2)

Northern Haida (Canada)
Sothern Haida (Canada)

Nuclear Na-Dene (45)

Athapaskan-Eyak (44)

Athapaskan (43)

Apachean (6)

Kiowa Apache (1)

Apache, Kiowa [apk] (United States)

Navajo-Apache (5)

Eastern Apache (3)

Apache, Jicarilla (United States)
Apache, Lipan (United States)
Apache, Mescalero-Chiricahua (United States)

Western Apache-Navajo (2)

Apache, Western (United States)
Navajo (United States)

Canadian (13)

Beaver-Sekani (2)

Beaver(Canada)
Sekani (Canada)

Carrier-Chilcotin (4)

Babine-Carrier (3)

Babine (Canada)
Carrier

Southern Carrier(Canada)

Chilcotin (1)
Han-Kutchin (2)

Gwich'in(Canada)
Han (USA)

Hare-Chipewyan (4)
Sarcee (1)

Ingalik-Koyukon (3)

Ingalik (1)
Koyukon-Holikachuk (2)

Pacific Coast (9)

California (4)
Oregon (5)

Tahltan-Kaska (3)

Kaska (Canada)
Tahltan(Canada)
Tagish(Canada)

Tanaina-Ahtna (2)

Ahtena (USA)
Tanaina(USA)

Tanana-Upper Kuskokwim (4)

Tanana (3)
Upper Kuskokwim (1)

Tutchone (2)

Southern Tutchone(Canada)
Northern Tutchone(Canada)

Tstsaut(Canada)

Eyak (1)
Eyak(USA)
Tlingit (1)

Tlingit (USA)

Natchez †
Palaihnihan (2)
Plateau Penutian (4) (also known as Shahapwailutan)
Pomoan (7)
Salinan †
Salishan (23)
Shastan (4) †
Siouan–Catawban (19)
Siuslaw †
Solano †
Takelma †
Tanoan (7)
Timucua †
Tonkawa †
Tsimshianic (2)
Tunica †
Utian (15) (also known as Miwok–Costanoan)
Uto-Aztecan (33)
Wakashan (7)
Wappo †
Washo
Wintuan (4)
Yana †
Yokutsan (3)
Yuchi
Yuki †
Yuman (11)
Zuni

† = Extinct languages
Unclassified Languages:
Campbell et al. (2007) list the following extinct and nearly unattested language varieties of North America as unclassifiable due to lack of data.

Eyeish
Coree
Sewee
Cusabo
Shoccoree-Eno (see Eno people)
Pascagoula
Quinipissa
Opelousa
Pedee
Bayogoula
Okelousa
Congaree
Winyaw (see Winyaw)
Santee (see Santee tribe. distinguish Santee Sioux)
Okchai-Chacato (see Okchai, Chatot people)
Tequesta
Guale
Sanan
Yamasee
Akokisa
Avoyel
Tocobaga (see Tocobaga)
Houma
Neusiok (see Neusiok people)
Ubate
Cape Fear
Pensacola (see Pensacola people)
Bidai
Wateree (see Wateree people)
Mobile
Michigamea
Pakana
Saxapahaw
Keyauwee
Guachichil *
Suma-Jumano * (see Suma & Jumanos)
Huite *
Concho *
Jova *
Acaxee * (see Acaxee)
Xixime (Jijime) *
Zacatec * (see Zacatecos; perhaps the same as Acaxee)
Tahue *
Guasave *
Toboso * (see Tobosos)

* Ethnographic evidences suggests these varieties might have been Uto-Aztecan

=====================================

At the time of Columbus' arrival, America had a population of 75,000,000 people that spoke 2,000 languages in North, Central, and South America. In the world today, approximately 6,000 languages are spoken, and only about 600 languages are expected to survive this century. There are more than 800 indigenous languages in the Western Hemisphere. In the US, 165 native american languages are still spoken.
Seventy-four native american languages are almost extinct, with only a handful of elderly speakers. Fifty-eight indigenous languages have fewer than 1,000 fluent speakers, twenty-five have 1,000-10,000 speakers, and only 8 native american languages have more than 10,000 speakers.
Language scholars estimate that before the time of Columbus, over 300 languages were spoken in North America north of Mexico. Since then, that number has dropped to about 175 indigenous languages. One estimate predicts that number will dwindle to less than 20 by the year 2050. When our children were sent to government boarding schools, they were severely punished for speaking our native languages, and over time many of them were nearly forgotten. Many indigenous languages of the Americas are endangered, and many others are extinct, with no living native speakers. We believe that languages have a spirit all their own.It is our vision for the future to once again hear whole generations of native people fluently speaking thier native languages. For as long as one person speaks a language, that language's people and traditions and history will survive and thrive.
The classification below is a composite of Goddard (1996), Campbell (1997), and Mithun (1999).
Native American Languages in the United States

Adai †
Algic

Algonquian(42)

Carolina Algonquian (United States) (also known as Pamlico, Pamtico, Pampticough, Christianna Algonquian) †
Central Algonquian(23)

Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi (9)

Atikamekw (Canada)
Moose Cree (Canada)
Northern East Cree (Canada)
Plains Cree (Canada)
Southern East Cree (Canada)
Swampy Cree (Canada)
Woods Cree (Canada)
Montagnais (Canada)
Naskapi (Canada)

Ojibwa (8)

Algonquin (Canada)
Chippewa (United States)
Central Ojibwa (Canada)
Eastern Ojibwa(Canada)
Northwestern Ojibwa (Canada)
Severn Ojibwa (Canada)
Western Ojibwa (Canada)
Ottawa (Canada)

Kickapoo (United States)
Menominee (United States)
Meskwaki (United States)
Miami (United States) (aka Illinois and Illinois-Miami) (Officially extinct but a revitalization program is in progress since an extensive dictionary exists)
Potawatomi (United States)
Shawnee (United States)

Eastern Algonquian(10)

Delaware
Munsee
Unami (also known as Lenape) †

Northern Unami
Southern Unami
Unalachtigo

Eastern Abnaki,(United States)(also known as Abenaki or Abenaki-Penobscot)

Penobscot (also known as Old Town or Old Town Penobscot)
Caniba
Aroosagunticook
Pigwacket

Etchemin (uncertain) †
Loup A (probably Nipmuck) (uncertain) †
Loup B (Uncertain) †
Western Abnaki (Canada) (also known as Abnaki, St. Francis, Abenaki, or Abenaki-Penobscot)
Malecite-Passamaquoddy (Canada) (also known as Maliseet-Passamquoddy)

Maliseet (also known as Malecite)
Passamaquoddy

Massachusett (United States) †

North Shore (United States)
Natick (United States)
Wampanoag (United States)
Nauset (United States)
Cowesit (United States)

Micmac (Canada and United States) (also known as Mic Mac, Mi’kmaq, Mi’gmaq, or Mi’kmaw)
Mohegan-Montauk-Narragansett (United States) (aka Mohegan-Pequot-Montauk)

Mohegan †
Montauk
Narragansett †
Niantic
Pequot †
Shinnecock (uncertain) †

Munsee (Canada)
Nanticoke (United States)

Nanticoke †
Piscataway (also known as Conoy)
Choptank

Powhatan (United States) (also known as Virginia Algonquian) †
Quiripi-Naugatuck-Unquachog

Quiripi (also known as Quinnipiak or Connecticut) †
Naugatuck †
Unquachog †

Plains Algonquian (5)

Arapaho (3)

Arapaho (United States)
Gros Ventre (United States)
Nawathinehena (United States)

Blackfoot (Canada) and Blackfeet (United States)
Cheyenne (United States)

Mahican (also known as Mohican) (Extinct)

Moravian
Stockbridge

Piscataway (United States)
Unclassified (1)

Lumbee (United States)

Wiyot(1)

Wiyot (United States) †

Yurok(1)

Yurok (United States)

Alsean (2) †
Atakapa †
Beothuk †
Caddoan (Macro-Siouan?)(5)

Northern Caddoan (4)

Pawnee-Kitsai (3)

Kitsai (1) (a.k.a. Kichai)

Kitsai (USA)

Pawnee (2)

Arikara (USA) (a.k.a. Ree)
Pawnee (USA) (dialects: South Bend, Skiri (a.k.a. Skidi or Wolf Band))

Wichita (1)

Wichita (USA) (dialects: Wichita proper, Waco, Towakoni)

Southern Caddoan (1)

Caddo (USA) (dialects: Kadohadacho, Hasinai, Natchitoches, Yatasi)

Cayuse †
Chimakuan (2)

Chimakum (USA)
Quileute (USA)

Chimariko †
Chinookan (3)

Kathlamet (a.k.a. Katlamat, Cathlamet)
Lower Chinook (a.k.a. Coastal Chinook)

Clatsop (USA)
Shoalwater (a.k.a. Chinook proper) (USA)

Upper Chinook (a.k.a. Kiksht, Columbia Chinook)

Cascades (USA)
Clackamas (USA)
Hood River (USA)
Multnomah (USA)
Wasco-Wishram (2)

Wasco (USA)
Wishram (USA)

White Salmon (USA)

Chitimacha †
Chumashan (7)

Barbareño (USA)
Chumash (USA) †
Cruzeño (USA)
Ineseño (USA)
Obispeño (USA)
Purisimeño (USA)
Ventureño (USA)

Coahuilteco †
Comecrudan (United States & Mexico) (3) †

Comecrudo (a.k.a. Mulato or Carrizo)
Garza
Mamulique (a.k.a. Carrizo de Mamulique)

Coosan (2) † (This language has been moved to Penutian.)

Hanis
Miluk (also known as Lower Coquille)

Creole Language Family
Cotoname †
Eskimo–Aleut (7) (also called Eskaleut)

Aleut

Western-Central

Atkan
Attuan
Unangan
Bering

Eastern

Unalaskan
Pribilof

Eskimo(Yupik-Inuit languages)

Yupik (or Yup'ik)

Central Alaskan Yup'ik

Yugtun Alutiiq (Pacific Gulf Yup'ik)
Central Siberian Yupik (Yuit or Chaplinon and St. Lawrence Island)
Naukan
Qawiaraq(Seward Peninsula)
Chaplinski Sirenik † (viewed as an independent branch by some)

Inuit

Inupiaq or Inupiat (northern Alaska)
Inuvialuktun (western Canada)
Kangiryuarmiutun (Ulukhaktok sometimes listed as Inuinnaqtun)
Siglitun (Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour, Tuktoyaktuk)
Uummarmiutun (Aklavik, Inuvik from Inupiaq)
Inuktitut (eastern Canada)
Nunatsiavummiutut (Nunatsiavut)
Inuttitut (Nunavik)
Kalaallisut (Greenland)
Inuktun (Avanersuarmiutut)East Greenlandic (Tunumiit oraasiat)

Hokan (23)

Esselen-Yuman (10)

Esselen † (1)

Esselen (United States)

Yuman (9)

Cochimi (1)

Cochimi (Mexico)

Delta-Californian (2)

Cocopa (Mexico)
Kumiai (Mexico)

Kiliwa (1)

Kiliwa (Mexico)

Pai (1)

Paipai (Mexico)

River Yuman (3)

Maricopa (United States)
Mohave (United States)
Quechan (United States)

Upland Yuman (1)

Havasupai-Walapai-Yavapai (United States)

Northern (12)

Karok-Shasta (4)

Shasta-Palaihnihan (3)

Palaihnihan (2)
Shastan (1)

Karok

Pomo (7)

Russian River and Eastern (6)

Eastern (1)
Russian River (5)

Southeastern (1)

Southeastern Pomo (United States)

Chimariko (United States)

Washo (1)

Washo (United States)

Iroquoian (11)

Northern Iroquoian

Lakes Iroquoian

Five Nations and Susquehannock

Seneca-Onondaga

Seneca-Cayuga

Seneca
Cayuga

Onodaga

Mohawk-Oneida

Oneida
Mohawk

Susquehannock †

Huronian

Wyandot (Huron-Petun)†
Neutral †
Erie †

Tuscarora-Nottoway

Tuscarora (seriously endangered)
Nottoway †

Southern Iroquoian

Cherokee

Kalapuyan (3) †
Karankawa †
Karuk
Keresan (2)

Eastern Keres
Western Keres

Kutenai
Maiduan (4)
Muskogean (9)

Western Muskogean

Chickasaw
Choctaw

Central Muskogean

Alabama (alternate name: Alibamu
Apalachee †
Hitchiti-Mikisaki
Koasati (alternate name: Coushatta)

Eastern Muskogean

Creek (alternate names: Muskogee, Maskoke, Seminole)

Na-Dene (47)

Haida (2)

Northern Haida (Canada)
Sothern Haida (Canada)

Nuclear Na-Dene (45)

Athapaskan-Eyak (44)

Athapaskan (43)

Apachean (6)

Kiowa Apache (1)

Apache, Kiowa [apk] (United States)

Navajo-Apache (5)

Eastern Apache (3)

Apache, Jicarilla (United States)
Apache, Lipan (United States)
Apache, Mescalero-Chiricahua (United States)

Western Apache-Navajo (2)

Apache, Western (United States)
Navajo (United States)

Canadian (13)

Beaver-Sekani (2)

Beaver(Canada)
Sekani (Canada)

Carrier-Chilcotin (4)

Babine-Carrier (3)

Babine (Canada)
Carrier

Southern Carrier(Canada)

Chilcotin (1)
Han-Kutchin (2)

Gwich'in(Canada)
Han (USA)

Hare-Chipewyan (4)
Sarcee (1)

Ingalik-Koyukon (3)

Ingalik (1)
Koyukon-Holikachuk (2)

Pacific Coast (9)

California (4)
Oregon (5)

Tahltan-Kaska (3)

Kaska (Canada)
Tahltan(Canada)
Tagish(Canada)

Tanaina-Ahtna (2)

Ahtena (USA)
Tanaina(USA)

Tanana-Upper Kuskokwim (4)

Tanana (3)
Upper Kuskokwim (1)

Tutchone (2)

Southern Tutchone(Canada)
Northern Tutchone(Canada)

Tstsaut(Canada)

Eyak (1)
Eyak(USA)
Tlingit (1)

Tlingit (USA)

Natchez †
Palaihnihan (2)
Plateau Penutian (4) (also known as Shahapwailutan)
Pomoan (7)
Salinan †
Salishan (23)
Shastan (4) †
Siouan–Catawban (19)
Siuslaw †
Solano †
Takelma †
Tanoan (7)
Timucua †
Tonkawa †
Tsimshianic (2)
Tunica †
Utian (15) (also known as Miwok–Costanoan)
Uto-Aztecan (33)
Wakashan (7)
Wappo †
Washo
Wintuan (4)
Yana †
Yokutsan (3)
Yuchi
Yuki †
Yuman (11)
Zuni

† = Extinct languages
Unclassified Languages:
Campbell et al. (2007) list the following extinct and nearly unattested language varieties of North America as unclassifiable due to lack of data.

Eyeish
Coree
Sewee
Cusabo
Shoccoree-Eno (see Eno people)
Pascagoula
Quinipissa
Opelousa
Pedee
Bayogoula
Okelousa
Congaree
Winyaw (see Winyaw)
Santee (see Santee tribe. distinguish Santee Sioux)
Okchai-Chacato (see Okchai, Chatot people)
Tequesta
Guale
Sanan
Yamasee
Akokisa
Avoyel
Tocobaga (see Tocobaga)
Houma
Neusiok (see Neusiok people)
Ubate
Cape Fear
Pensacola (see Pensacola people)
Bidai
Wateree (see Wateree people)
Mobile
Michigamea
Pakana
Saxapahaw
Keyauwee
Guachichil *
Suma-Jumano * (see Suma & Jumanos)
Huite *
Concho *
Jova *
Acaxee * (see Acaxee)
Xixime (Jijime) *
Zacatec * (see Zacatecos; perhaps the same as Acaxee)
Tahue *
Guasave *
Toboso * (see Tobosos)

* Ethnographic evidences suggests these varieties might have been Uto-Aztecan

† = Extinct languages.

 

Subcategories

Article Index:

178 indigenous languages in the US are endangered

Of the Native American languages of the U.S., 90% are not being passed on to a new generation. There were 312 American Indian languages in use when Europeans first arrived in North America; of these, 123 (40%) are known to have lost all native speakers. Of those that remain, all except two are endangered. Only 20 of these (13%) are being learned by children, and by fewer children each year.

Most of these languages will cease to be spoken in your lifetime, if language revitalization programs are not successful.

86 languages indigenous to California

There are 86 native American languages that are indigenous to the state of California, more than any other state.

American indian place names

About half of the states and many modern towns in the US got their names from American Indian words. The name of Kentucky comes from an Iroquoian word (Kentahten), which means “land of tomorrow.”

Extinct languages of North America
Indian Families or Stocks in the United States
Indigenous Languages Spoken in the United States by Location and Number of Fluent Speakers
Native American State Names
Original meanings of fifty tribal names
Some 40 indigenous languages are at risk in the Pacific Northwest