Chinook Look up Chinook at
name for a group of related native people in the Columbia River region of Washington and Oregon, from Salishan /činuk/, name of a village site. Name also extended to a type of salmon (1851) and warm spring wind. Chinook jargon was a mishmash of native (Chinook and Nootka), French, and English words; it once was lingua franca in the Pacific Northwest, and it is the earliest attested use of the word (1840).