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The Harney Valley, or tibidzi yipɨ (the True Valley), region of southeastern Oregon is a rich and varied landscape consisting of all the extremes one expects to find in the Great Basin—vast marshlands, high-elevation grasslands, alkali basins, pine forest, and ephemeral lakebeds and rivers. This high desert area attracts hundreds of thousands of water and other fowl (as well as birdwatchers) on their seasonal migration. Water has been, and remains, a source of tension in the region, as does the management of federal land more generally, including, in particular, the allocation of grazing rights. The occupation of the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by an armed militia in January 2016 drew both national media attention and swift condemnation by the region’s original occupants, whose cultural sites had been violated by the takeover.

Some earmark features of the Northern Paiute dialect spoken here include the appearance of the palatal affricate [ʧ] (written as {ch} in the local orthography and /č/ in the transcription) corresponding to palatalized [kʲ] in other northern dialects and voiced fortis alveolar [dd] in the south. Prosodic vowel devoicing seems, impressionistically at least, more pervasive in this variety than elsewhere. Any obstruent-initial, unstressed syllable is a candidate, although typically devoicing only appears on the final one or two syllables of a three- or four-syllable word, respectively.

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This document was originally published in International Journal of American Linguistics by University of Chicago Press. Copyright restrictions may apply. doi: 10.1086/707227