Ever since the white people first came to our lands, we have been known as the Kwawkewlths by Indian Affairs or as the Kwakiutl by anthropologists. In fact, we are the Kwakwaka'wakw, people who speak the Kwa„wala language, but live in different places and have different names for our separate groups.
We the Kwakwaka'wakw are related to other groups here on the Northwest Coast. A long time ago there was a single tribe that split up and became several tribes, which are all related to us. Our closest relatives are the Hi‡dzakw (of Bella Bella), the Awik'inuxw (of Rivers Inlet), and the Xa'esala (of Kitimat). More distantly related are the West Coast People (Kwikwasadzi the Nootka and Nitinat) and the Makah Tribe of Washington.
All of us, who are related because we come from that original tribe that split up, are called the "Wakashan Language Family". That word is pronounced [Wuh-CASH-shun].
Each of those related groups speaks a different language now, so they are not Kwakwaka'wakw. All of the Kwakwaka'wakw can understand each other, even though we use some words with a different dialect.
Some of the Kwakwaka'wakw have disappeared, among them the Awa'et‡ala of Knight Inlet, the Nakamgalisala of Hope Island, the Yut‡inux of Cox and Lanz Islands. A few of the groups died out, while some amalgamated with other groups. Some of the villages have been abandoned for years.