Jared Kennedy | 07.07.2014

Wednesday's Word is Nisqually - nɪˈskwɑːli -- nih-SQUAW-lee

n: 'n' in 'nigh'  ɪ: 'i' in 'bid'  ˈ: primary stress follows  s: 's' in 'sigh'  k: 'k' in 'kind'  w: 'w' in 'wind'  ɑː: 'a' in 'father'  l: 'l' in 'lie'  i: 'y' in 'happy'

Nisqually is the name of a Native American tribe living in Western Washington that speaks the Lushootseed language. The tribe is a part of the larger Southern Coast Salish People. The Nisqually call themselves the Squalli-Absh in Lushootseed, which means "people of the river." By signing the Medicine Creek Treaty, the Nisqually tribe was moved to its current reservation east of Olympia, Washington, in 1854. However, the tribe's chief, Chief Leschi, and many other tribe members were dissatisfied with the terms of the treaty and engaged in armed conflict with the U.S. Army in what was called the Puget Sound War. They were joined by the Muckleshoot, Puyallup, and Klickitat tribes and were eventually defeated in 1856.

It's not surprising that the tribe's name is given to a large body of water in the same area, the Nisqually River, which flows from a glacier on Mount Rainier to the Puget Sound near Olympia. Along the river's path, numerous outdoor recreation opportunities abound. The Nisqually Vista Trail in Mount Rainier National Park offers superb views of the glacier that forms the start of the river. Hiking, camping and snowshoeing are great ways to explore the river and its tributaries, including Narada Falls on the Paradise River, which merges with the Nisqually River at the Cougar Rock Campground.

The Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is located at the river's end as it flows into the Puget Sound. This unique environment offers numerous wildlife viewing and bird watching opportunities to visitors. And at Point Defiance Park in nearby Tacoma, visitors can explore the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum. The museum is a former fur trading post built in 1833 by the Hudson's Bay Company, and it is the oldest standing wood structure in Washington State.


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