Your Chinook Wawa Word of the Day: Olallie


[O-lal’-lie] or [U-lal-i] — noun.

Meaning: Berry; berries; fruit

Origin: From a Lower Chinook úlili ‘salmon-berry’; Heiltsuk, olallie “salmon berry”

Originally this word referred only to salmon-berries (Rubus spectabilis), but in Chinook Wawa it grew to mean any sort of “pil olallie” (red berry), along the Salish Sea it became a catch-all for any sort of berry. One can collect “piah olallie” (ripe berries) to both eat and to make into  “olallie chuck” (berry juice). Though introduced by Europeans, grapes would come to be called “wain olallie” (wine berries), and naturally the grapevine was called “wain olallie stick” (wine berry tree). This also leads to two heady archaisms for wine, “wain ti” (wine tea) or “wain olallie yaka chuck” (wine berry’s water).

The unincorporated communities of Olalla, WA, and Olalla, BC are named after local adaptations of this word, as is Ollala Dam and its associated reservoir, Ollala Lake, which are located near Siletz. There is an Ollala Creek in Oregon and British Columbia, as well as an Olallie Creek in Washington.

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