Village Descriptions

Nisqually-Olympia section

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. spwee-YAWL-ah-pahbsh (from pwee-YAWL-ahp, 'twisting' referring to the name of the river, although according to (2) the word means 'ample supply of everything'). Puyallup. Located at the mouth of the Puyallup River in what is now the city of Tacoma, at the current intersection of 15th Street and Pacific Avenue. This was the central site of an extended village which included TWAH-deb-tsahb, village 2, as well as two other nearby house sites, villages 3 and 4. People of this village were the "real" Puyallup.  (1, 2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. TWAH-deb-tsahb. Puyallup. Located in what is now the city of Tacoma where a creek, which no longer exists, emptied into Commencement Bay, at the current intersection of 24th Street and Pacific Avenue. This, along with villages 1, 3 and 4, was part of the extended village spwee-YAWL-ah-pahbsh.  (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. TSAHTS-kahd (‘main village’). Puyallup. Located in the present-day city of Tacoma where Clay Creek empties into the Puyallup River not far from the old Cushman School. This, along with villages 1, 2 and 4, was part of the extended village spwee-YAWL-ah-pahbsh.  (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. kahl-KAHL-awk. Puyallup. Located in the present-day town of Fife at the former mouth of Wapato Creek, just above the grasslands. This, along with villages 1, 2 and 3, was part of the extended village spwee-YAWL-ah-pahbsh.  (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. s’HAWHT’l-ahbch (from HAWHT’l, the name of present-day Hylebos Waterway). Puyallup. Located in present-day NE Tacoma near where Hybelos Waterway empties into Commencement Bay. People from this village were said to have moved across the Sound to establish a village at present-day Gig Harbor, TWAH-well-kawh. Silver salmon were plentiful in Hylebos Waterway.  (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. t’STEHL-eh-kuhb-ahbch. Puyallup. An old and important village located near mouth of Chambers Creek north of present-day town of Steilacoom. The same named group also inhabited village site 7.  (1, 2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. [name not known]. Puyallup. Located at fork of Clover Creek about 3 miles E of present-day town of Brookdale. The people here were called t’STEHL-eh-kuhb-ahbch with their principal site at village 6. There may have been another allied village at present-day town of Spanaway. The people at this site had strong ties with the Nisqually as well as with tsuhk-WEHK-wahbch, the Puyallup village located about 10 miles NNE--where Clarks Creek empties into the Puyallup River.  (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. seeg-WAHL-ehts-abch. Nisqually. Located where Dupont Creek enters the Segualitchew River. The people of this village were considered part of the larger group called skwahl-EH-ahbch, or ‘people of SKWAHL-eh’--present-day Nisqually River.  (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. ehl-OH-suh-dahbch. Nisqually. Located at the E side of the mouth of the Nisqually River onto Puget Sound. The people of this village were considered part of the larger group called skwahl-EH-ahbch, or ‘people of SKWAHL-eh’--present-day Nisqually River. Though it was located at the river’s mouth this village did not take the river’s name--contrary to usual custom--perhaps because the Nisqually were much more oriented up-river than to the salt water.  (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. yee-TSAWHT-tsahbch (from yee-TSAWHT-uhl, the name of the lake). Nisqually. Located on Nisqually Lake at the outlet. The people of this village were considered part of the larger group called skwahl-EH-ahbch, or ‘people of SKWAHL-eh’--present-day Nisqually River.  (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. yoh-WHAHLS-tsahbch.  Nisqually. Located at the mouth of Muck Creek onto Nisqually River. Village was on the flats near the river bed rather than on the adjacent high prairie land. Since this site didn’t appeal to the settlers looking for farming and grazing land, and then was included in the reservation, it maintained its identity longer than most Nisqually villages. The people here were considered part of the larger group called skwahl-EH-ahbch, or ‘people of SKWAHL-eh’--present-day Nisqually River.  (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. SUHK-wee-ahbch. Nisqually. Located on a hill near the junction of Clear Creek and Nisqually River. This was "perhaps the largest" Nisqually village at the time of the Medicine Creek Treaty in 1855. The people of this village were considered part of the larger group called skwahl-EH-ahbch, or ‘people of SKWAHL-eh’--present-day Nisqually River.  (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. too-DAH-dahb (from too-DAHB, the word for shaman power, hence ‘Medicine’ Creek). Nisqually. Located at the mouth of McAllister or Medicine Creek onto the Sound. This was the site where the 1855 treaty with Governor Stevens was drawn up. The people of this village, even though it is not properly within the drainage, were probably considered part of the larger group called skwahl-EH-ahbch, or ‘people of SKWAHL-eh’--present-day Nisqually River.  (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14. toot-SEHTS-awh’lh. Nisqually. Located on W side of Henderson Inlet about midway between head of inlet and Woodward Bay. The people from this village moved into the Nisqually reservation at the time of concentration.  (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15. staht-SAHS-ahbsh. Squaxin. Located at the head of Budd Inlet at present-day town of Tumwater. In the mid-1800s there were three houses here. The people from this village moved into the Nisqually reservation at the time of concentration.  (2, 3)  North of here, on the west side of Budd Inlet just below the downtown Olympia bridge was the village of b'TSUH-t'kood ('frequented by black bears'), and further north still, at Dofflemyer Point, was a place called cheh-tsah-AHL-too, 'house pits', for depressions in the ground showing where houses had once stood long ago. (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16. skwah-YAI’lh-hahbch. pre-contact Upper Chehalis, post-contact Squaxin. Located at the head of Eld Inlet at Mud Bay. In the mid-1800s this site had "two big houses on the head of Mud Bay on the creek where they used to dry salmon and three of them [houses] below the Mud Bay head on the E side of the bay."  (2, 3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17. sook-WEH ('toad fish', Porichthys notatus, resembling a bullfish, which at low tide could be heard near here humming under the rocks) or tah-PEEKS-dahbch. Nisqually. Located on Oyster Bay at the head of Totten Inlet and below the present-day town of Oyster Bay. In the old days this was an important village; by the mid-1800s this site had "three houses on the head of that Oyster Bay where they were drying salmon at that creek." The people from this village moved into the Nisqually reservation at the time of concentration.  (1, 2, 3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18. sah-HEH-wahbch. Nisqually. Located on the point at the present-day town of Arcadia. This was a large village at a strategic location, and its name was sometimes extended to refer to all the people in villages 14-17 as well as village 19. The people from this village moved into the Nisqually reservation at the time of concentration.  (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19. [name not known]. Nisqually. Located on Shelton Inlet opposite the present-day town of Shelton. In the mid-1800s this site had "two great big houses and one small house." The people here were allied with their parent village (18), sah-HEH-wahbch. The people from this village moved into the Nisqually reservation at the time of concentration.  (2, 3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20. yee-LAHL-koh (‘forks of the river’). Skokomish. On the S bank of the Skokomish River about 1/2 mile below the fork. The river has shifted and eroded its banks extensively in this area and the site no longer exists. This large settlement with at least two big cedar plank houses was the principal Skokomish settlement in pre-white times, with the headman here recognized as a community leader by other villages in the Skokomish drainage. There was a fish weir here, and the graveyard nearby was used by people all along the river.  (4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.  "Puget Sound Geography" by T. T. Waterman.  Washington DC:  National Anthropological Archives, mss. 

2.  The Puyallup-Nisqually by Marian W. Smith.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 1940.

3.  Duwamish et al vs. United States of America, F-275.  Washington DC:  US Court of Claims, 1927.

4.  "The Structure of Twana Culture" by W. W. Elmendorf in Coast Salish and Western Washington Indians, v.4.  New York:  Garland Publishing, 1974.