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California Languages

J. P. Harrington carried out extensive documentation of most indigenous languages and cultures of California. To consult the documentation available for California languages, place your mouse over highlighted areas of the map below, and click on the area of interest. These links will redirect you to a catalog record within the Smithsonian’s Information Research System (SIRIS).

Please also visit the Smithsonian’s new Transcription Center. Join us as a Smithsonian Digital Volunteer and help transcribe manuscripts from the National Anthropological Archives. Stay tuned as we work to make selections from the J. P. Harrington Collection available for transcription.

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Please note: geographic arrangement is based on John P. Harrington's categorizations; language families and locations do not necessarily reflect current categorizations.

To search for specific languages visit siris.


Sincere appreciation and thanks to those who helped make the Harrington collection more widely accessible to the interested public. Support for preparation and digitization of the collection for online access has been provided by the following:

Arcadia Fund; Colorado College Library; Cow Creek Band of Umpqua; Pechanga Band of Luiseno; Recovering Voices, SI; Rosetta Project, Long Now Foundation; Save America’s Treasures, DoI; Matthew Vestuto, on behalf of Barbareño/Ventureño Band of Mission Indians; Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival (AICLS); and the Collections Program of the National Museum of Natural History.


For questions, comments or issues with this website please email us.




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