The Saulteau Language

Saulteau, one of the three major dialects of Ojibwe (the others are Anishnaabe and Odawa), is spoken primarily far to the East of BC, in Sasketchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Minnesota. A little over 100 years ago, the leader of one band of Saulteau had a vision that told him to head West. Over a period of several years, they did so, ultimately settling around Moberly, where they have merged with the Cree and Beaver people of this area. Although the band retains an identification with Saulteau and calls itself the Saulteau First Nation, the languages that have persisted are Cree (in which the Saulteau were already bilingual when they arrived in BC) and Beaver. There are said to be a few elders who can speak Saulteau.

The English term Saulteaux is a loan from French meaning "people of the rapids", based on sault "rapids". The French is probably a translation of the Old Ojibwe term /pa:wittikwiriniwak/ "people of the rapids". The term originally referred to the Ojibwe who lived at the rapids at Sault Ste. Marie. It was later extended to all speakers of the Westernmost dialect of Ojibwe.

Saulteau is an Algonquian language.


Yinka Déné Language Institute © 2006