Yakama (Ichishkíin / Mámachatpam)

Yakama is a member of the Sahaptian branch of the Plateau Penutian language family. It is a language of the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Reservation, and of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation. In 2007 there were 25 speakers of Yakama all of whom are elderly and live on the Yakama Indian Reservation in southern Washington state in the northwest of the USA, particularly in Toppenish the largest city in the reservation.

Yakama is also known as Lower Yakama, Ichishkíin, Waptailmim or Yakima. It is closely related to Upper Cowlitz and Klikitat, and these languages are sometimes collectively called Northwest Sahaptin. The Sahaptin languages are also related to Nez Perce (Nimipuutímt).

Efforts are being made to revive and revitalise the language with some classes and some radio programs. The University of Oregon's Northwest Indian Language Institute provides classes and training of teachers of Yakama and other Sahaptin languages.

A way to write Yakama known as the Yakima Practical Alphabet was developed in the early 1970s by Bruce Rigsby, a linguist and anthropologist, with Alex Saluskin and other elders. It was designed to be typed on a standard typewriter. It is used in the Yakima Language Practical Dictionary by Virginia Beavert and Bruce Rigsby, which was published in 1975. There are a number of other ways to write Yakama.

Yakama alphabet and pronunciation

Yakama alphabet and pronunciation


An accute accent (á) is used indicate stress.

Download an alphabet chart for Yakama (Excel)

Sample text in Yakama

Kuatlak, Mali, im’naua kekom shir, eminik i-uamsh Roemichnik Miauar, im’naua imksa shir tlarpa aietpa, shir mesh ua eminik lsht Sesu. Saint Mali, Roemichnik Miauarnmi Pcha, tanamutemk neemiei chiluitmamiei tinmamiei, ichi ikook, aateshku namak atnata. Ikush iua neemi temna.


Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God. Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Source: http://www.language-museum.com/encyclopedia/y/yakima.php

Sample videos in and about Sahaptin


Information about Yakama
Grammar Of Yakima Ichishkíin /Sahaptin

Yakama dictionary

Plateau Penutian languages

Klamath, Nez Perce, Sahaptin, Yakama

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 23.04.21


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