“Sequim” Mistranslated from Klallam Language and Corrected

The name “Sequim” apparently doesn’t mean “quiet waters” as so generally believed throughout the region, but meaning “a place for going to shoot.”  This is according to Timothy Montler, a specialist in dying languages at University of North Texas and has been working with the Klallam tribes to study the Klallam language for nearly 20 years.

The Peninsula Daily News reported the tribe’s announcement of the new translation recently, and was picked up by other regional papers, including The Olympian and Kitsap Sun, plus National Public Radio.

From the story:

Elaine Grinnell, a Jamestown S’Klallam tribal member and a member of the Sequim Museum & Arts Center board, said her grandmother, Elizabeth Prince, was interviewed by Montler before she died.

“My people did go there to shoot,” Grinnell, born in 1936, recalled. “The ducks would go in there, and the hunting was plentiful. I remember that as a kid.”

Her cousin and fellow tribal member, Les Prince, said he trusted Montler’s translation if he talked to the elders.

“Some of those old ladies, they really knew the language,” he said. “If he says they said it, then I would think it was right.”