Northwest Native Americans

Northwest Native Americans
By Judith Pinsky, Ella King,
and Gaby Germanos
• The Native Americans
lived in large, peakedroof houses called plank
houses. They were big
houses with small
entryways. The only
furniture they had were
storage boxes, baskets,
and backrests.
• Inside, there is a large
cooking area that covers
more than a quarter of
the floor. It is at least a
foot into the ground. Each
member of the family has
their own fire pit in this
big cooking area. Over
this area are roof boards
pushed open to allow
smoke to escape.
Walls and Roofs
• Next to the roof
boards, there were
skin bags with fish oil
hung from the rafters.
There were also stairlike platforms
connected to the wall.
• On the top platform,
each family member
had their own
sleeping area. Mats
or screens separated
one sleeping area
from another. They
slept on mats of cedar
bark and fur.
Family Culture
• Family was a very
important part of the
Native American culture.
Each child was taught
hard work, family honor,
and peacefulness. They
were toughened by cold
swims and night runs
through rain storms.
• When they hit puberty,
the girls learned
household tasks like
cooking and weaving.
The boys learned how to
hunt, perform
ceremonies, and assist
elders. When the boys
became men, if they were
wealthy, they could have
several wives.
• One thing that both
men and women
could do was to make
toys. These toys
included rattles,
whistles, dolls, and
spinning tops made of
bone and ivory.
• The Native Americans ate
many different foods.
These included whales,
salmon, halibut, cod,
herring, elk, deer, mink,
marten, otter, shellfish,
roots, berries, bulbs,
ducks, seals, sea lions,
dogfish, black bears,
acorns, rabbits, quail,
flounder, candlefish,
smelt, sturgeon, and
basking shark’s liver oil.
More on Food
• They also ate caribou
which was a treat
because it was very
rare to find in their
area. They obtained
their food by trapping,
harpooning, netting,
and fishing.
Arts and Crafts
• Since they were master
woodcarvers and
weavers, they made
many things to hold their
food. For example, they
used woven wooden
baskets as fish traps,
trays, and seed beaters.
They used the finer
baskets for cooking pots.
The Caddo Indians
used animals for their
clothing. Clothes were
made out of sea otter
and other furs or
woven from cedar
• Almost every tool was
made of wood from
the redwoods, pines,
and Douglas fir trees
in the area. Others
were made of stone
and iron.
More on Tools
• Their main tools were stone
hammers, sharp stone chisels,
D-adze, elbow adze, stone
mauls, drills, harpoons, salmon
hooks, halibut hooks,spears
and black cod hooks.
• Everyone believes in
something. The
Native Americans?
They believed in the
Sky God, ruler of the
heavens, and the
Serpent God, king of
the underworld.
Sky God
• The Sky God ruled
over many spirits all
around the worlds
above. One of the
spirits that the Sky
God ruled over was
the supernatural
ocean beings
disguised as fish and
sea mammals.
Serpent God
• The Serpent God
rules over evil spirits,
like the Trickster
Coyote. The Great
Spirit Madumda is
Trickster Coyote’s
Raven Spirit
• The Native Americans
believed that Raven
Spirit found the first
people in a clamshell.
That’s why you
usually see him and
his grandfather on
totem poles.
• When the Europeans came,
they had a lot to trade with the
Native Americans, such as
blankets, metal tools, food and
clothing for dogfish oil from the
Native Americans. Dogfish oil
was used for lubricating
sawmill machinery and lamps.
More About Trading
• Among themselves,
the Native Americans
traded crafts and
boats for chillkat
blankets made of goat
• Candle fish could be
used for many things.
They were so oily that if
you stuck wick through
them, they could be used
as a candle! Candlefish
were also used for
medicine, cooking and
seasoning. Some other
valuables were yellow,
pink and red polished
magnetite beads.

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