Definition of Salish in US English:



  • 1A member of a group of North American peoples inhabiting areas of the northwestern US and British Columbia.

    • ‘The Salish and Kootenais also used a host of passes in what is now Glacier National Park, including Logan Pass, which the Kootenais termed ‘Packs Pulled Up’ because of the need to climb over a final steep rock step.’
    • ‘While not an act, HCR 108 showed Congress's support of termination policy, and in October 1953 Senator Watkins and his colleagues promptly introduced twelve bills to terminate tribal groups, the Salish and Kootenai included.’
    • ‘Indians came to talk about peace between the Salish and Kootenai and their enemies, the Blackfeet, not about land cessions or a treaty with the United States, because they saw no reason to ‘treat with friends’.’
    • ‘‘Old Toby,’ their Shoshone guide, led them through the Bitterroot Valley, the ancestral homeland of the Salish, to Lolo Creek, where they spent several days preparing for the most arduous part of their journey.’
    • ‘The students report stories of the state's indigenous people - the Chippewa, Cree, Crow, Blackfeet, Assiniboine, Gros Ventre, Yanktonai Sioux, Little Shell, Northern Cheyenne, Salish and Kootenai.’
    • ‘Coast Salish appreciated the danger of overfishing, moreover, and adopted conservation measures such as leaving gaps in weirs, opening traps periodically and setting nets only after the ‘first run’ of salmon had passed.’
    1. 1.1dated
      another name for the "flathead" people (see flathead)
  • 2The group of related languages spoken by the Salish.

    • ‘And sometimes the elders I work with, who are all native speakers of English as well as Salish, see connections between English and Salish that strike me as doubtful.’


  • Relating to the Salish or their languages.

    • ‘This event brought together the whole of the Blackfeet Confederation, including the Canadian element, in addition to members of the Crow, Salish, Sioux, and Nez Perce tribes.’
    • ‘Crooked Bow's beef strips - a very old recipe in a brand new package - are made of grass-fed beef raised by Salish, Kootenai and Pend O'Reille tribal members of the Flathead Native Agricultural Cooperative.’
    • ‘Thus he prohibits her learning of the Salish language and does not send her to the boarding school with the other children of the tribe.’
    • ‘The tribes' struggle to maintain their identity began when the first non-Indians, fur traders and then Jesuit missionaries, entered Salish and Kootenai territory on the heels of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.’
    • ‘North of the Canadian boundary, Kootenai and Salish people used Kootenai Pass and South Kootenay Pass, accessed by the Grave Creek Trail that was the principal ‘buffalo trail’ from the Tobacco Plains.’


A local name, literally ‘Flatheads’.