West Virginia Mingo

This site is dedicated to the preservation and revitalization of Unyææshæötká', the language of the West Virginia Mingo.  Mingo is an Iroquoian language native to the areas of western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and West Virginia.  It is a seriously endangered language, with very few native speakers remaining.  However, in recent years, there has been increasing interest in the language among Mingo descendants, both in the traditional homeland areas, as well as across the country. 

The Mingo Alphabet

Throughout its history, Mingo was primarily an oral language.  It is only in the last few years that a standardized alphabet has been adopted for the language.  These pages explain how the alphabet works, and provide audio links so that you can hear how the letters are pronounced in combination.


Like all languages, Mingo has a huge inventory of words.  This dictionary reflects only a small portion of all the words in Mingo.  It is perpetually being updated and re-edited.

Current Number of Mingo Entries: 2823


The online Mingo Text Archive provides a wealth of original texts composed by Thomas McElwain.  These texts are presented both in the original Mingo and with corresponding English translations.  Several of the texts are also accompanied by sound files.


The grammar of Mingo is quite different from that of English and other European languages.  The pages here provide an introduction to the language for beginning students.

Language Learning Materials

Over the past few years, a variety of instructional materials have been produced to help people learn to speak, read and write in Mingo.

Fun and Games

Learning Mingo might be tough, but it can also be a lot of fun!

Getting in Touch

While most Mingo descendants still live in the Ohio Valley region, many have moved away, and can now be found all across the country (and beyond!).


Note: This is currently under development, both in its lexical databases and in the search engines. 
ThomasGMcElwain@gmail.com, jordanlachler@gmail.com, sburke@cpan.org 2008-11-23