The traditional Kashaya language area is along the Pacific coast from north of Bodega Bay to Stewart’s Point and Annapolis. In pre-contact times, the Pomoan languages together probably had around 8,000 speakers (Kroeber 1925). In the 21st century, there are several dozen speakers of Kashaya (Golla 2011). However, tribal members and language activists have been pursuing language revitalization and reclamation (Kashaya language resources).

Map of the Pomoan languages
Map of the Pomoan languages (Walker 2020). For a large-scale map with village names, see Barrett 1908.

Kashaya (also spelled “Kashia” and called “Southwestern Pomo”) is one of seven languages that comprise the Pomoan language family; the others are Central Pomo, Eastern Pomo, Northeastern Pomo, Northern Pomo, Southeastern Pomo, and Southern Pomo. Together, the Pomoan languages form one branch of the hypothesized Hokan language family, the other members of which are Chimariko, Esselen, Karuk, the Palaihnihan languages (Achumawi and Atsugewi), Salinan, the Shastan languages (Konomihu, New River Shasta, Okwanuchu, and Shasta), Washo, Yana, and the Yuman languages (Cocopa, Kiliwa, Kumeyaay, Maricopa, Mojave, Pai, Paipai, and Quechan).

Grammatical information

Thumbnail sketch of Kashaya by Robert L. Oswalt, April 1962 [PDF] (Haas.063)

Selected archival materials at Berkeley

Selected materials in other archives

Further reading

  • Barrett, S. A. 1908. The ethno-geography of the Pomo and neighboring Indians. University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology 6:1-322. [PDF]
  • Buckley, Eugene III. 1992. Theoretical Aspects of Kashaya Phonology and Morphology. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Berkeley. [PDF]
  • Golla, Victor. 2011. California Indian languages. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Oswalt, Robert L. 1961. A Kashaya grammar (Southwestern Pomo). Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Berkeley. [PDF]
  • Oswalt, Robert L. 1964. Kashaya texts. Berkeley: University of California Press.