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Nootka(no͝ot`kə), Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Wakashan branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languagesNative American languages,
languages of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere and their descendants. A number of the Native American languages that were spoken at the time of the European arrival in the New World in the late 15th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. ). The Nootka proper are a small group on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, but the name is also used to refer to the Aht Confederacy, which formerly included more than 20 tribes. Traditional Nootka culture was fundamentally that of the Northwest Coast area (see under Natives, North AmericanNatives, North American,
peoples who occupied North America before the arrival of the Europeans in the 15th cent. They have long been known as Indians because of the belief prevalent at the time of Columbus that the Americas were the outer reaches of the Indies (i.e.
..... Click the link for more information. ); they fished for salmon, lived in long wooden houses, and created elaborate totem poles. In 1991 there were some 4,000 Nootka in 15 bands in Canada. The so-called Nootka hats of woven fiber were common among other tribes of this area. With the exception of the Makah and a few of their neighbors, they were the only Native Americans on the Pacific coast who hunted whales.
See P. Drucker, The Northern and Central Nootkan Tribes (repr. 1988).
an American Indian tribe who speak a Wakashan language. Population, approximately 3,500 (1967, estimate). The Nootka live along the western coast of Vancouver Island (Canada) and on Cape Flattery (USA). In the past, the Nootka were settled fishermen and hunters. Most of the present-day Nootka work in the fishing and lumber industries.