Northwest Chinookan Culture

Northwest Chinookan Cultural Traits

1.   Sedentary hunter/fisher/gatherers
.   Fish an important food source, particularly salmon
.   Acorns an important food source
.   Traded for and relied on large dugout cedar boats
2.   Practiced Northwestern animistic religion
.   Practiced potlatch
.   Strict incest taboos
.   Puberty rites of passage:
.   Usually monogamous
.   Shaman based
3.   Occasionally at war
4.   Capitalistic
5.   Excellent basket weavers and made basket hats
6.   Lived in plank and log houses
7.   Traded extensively with slaves being primary trade good
8.   No government
9.   Excellent carvers
10. Chinookan language primary northwest lingua franca (trade language)

Northwest Chinookan Culture languages and tribes:

Phylum / Stock / Family / Language Tribe
Macro-Penutian / Chinookan / Chinookan / Lower Chinookan Clatsop
Chinook
Macro-Penutian / Chinookan / Chinookan / Upper Chinookan Cathlamet
Chiluckkittequa
Clackamas
Wasco
Macro-Penutian / Shapwailutan / Shahaptian / Klickitat Klickitat
Macro-Penutian / Shapwailutan / Shahaptian / Yakima Yakima
Na-Dene / Athapaskan / Pacific Coast Athapaskan / Kwalhioqua-Clatskanie Clatskanie
Kwalhioqua
 
Northwest Chinookan Ethnobotany (Most certainly incomplete) 
Common Name Scientific Name Use Comment
Broadleaf Cattail Typha latifolia L. Food Roots eaten
Clothing Leaves woven together to make raincoats
California Nettle Urtica dioica ssp. gracilis (Ait.) Seland. Food Leaves boiled and eaten as greens, leaves boiled to make a soup
Cordage Dried fiber used to make cordage, bindings, rope, twine, bowstrings, cloth,  and nets.
Clustered Thistle Cirsium brevistylum Cronq. Food Large taproots peeled and eaten raw or cooked, flower heads chewed to get the nectar.
Clothing Down spun with yellow cedar inner bark and used for baby clothing.
Common Beargrass Xerophyllum tenax (Pursh) Nutt. Basketry New sprouts used to make baskets, especially for designs, grass used as a border pattern in baskets.
Edible Thistle Cirsium edule Nutt. Food Young shoots eaten as greens, roots boiled and used for food, roots dried and stored for future use, dried roots rehydrated, scraped, chopped, and cooked in stews.
Evergreen Huckleberry Vaccinium ovatum Pursh Food Fresh berries used for food or dried and stored
Field Horsetail Equisetum arvense L. Food Young shoots used as food.
Grayleaf Red Raspberry Rubus idaeus ssp. strigosus (Michx.) Focke Food Fresh berries used for food or dried and stored
Kinnikinnick Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng. Food Berries dried in bags, mixed with oil and eaten.
Oregon Crab Apple Malus fusca (Raf.) Schneid. Food Fruits stored in baskets until soft and used for food.
Oregon White Oak Quercus garryana Dougl. ex Hook. Food Acorns stored up to one year, ground, leached, cooked into mush, soup, cakes, bread; acorns placed with grass and dirt in pit, into which Indians would urinate from time to time ... thus marinated, the acorns were cooked in different pits and eaten "Chinook olives" considered a delicacy
Ovalleaf Blueberry Vaccinium ovalifolium Sm. Food Berries eaten fresh or dried and stored for later use
Red Huckleberry Vaccinium parvifolium Sm. Food Fresh berries used for food or dried and stored
Salal Gaultheria shallon Pursh Food Fresh berries used for food or dried and stored, made into cakes
Salmonberry Rubus spectabilis Pursh Food Berries eaten fresh, sprouts cooked in a pit and eaten with dried salmon.
Seashore Lupine Lupinus littoralis Dougl. Food Fleshy taproots eaten raw, boiled, or steamed in spring.
Sitka Spruce Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr. Basketry Roots used to make the horizontal weave in coarse baskets used for drying foods in the smoke house.
Small Cranberry Vaccinium oxycoccos L. Food Berries eaten fresh or dried in cakes and later used for food
Snow Raspberry Rubus nivalis Dougl. ex Hook. Food Berries eaten raw or stewed and used for food
Wappatoe Sagittaria variabilis Food Eaten like potatoes (important food soource)
Wavyleaf Thistle Cirsium undulatum (Nutt.) Spreng. Food Young roots roasted and eaten, roots dried and stored for future use, dried roots rehydrated, scraped, chopped and cooked in stews.
Whitebark Raspberry Rubus leucodermis Dougl. ex Torr. & Gray Food Berries eaten fresh or dried in cakes and later used for food
White or Port Orford Cedar Chamaecyparis lawsoniana (A. Murr.) Parl. Cordage Bark traded for and used to make cordage
Weapons Heartwood traded for and used to make highly elastic bows
ETHNOBOTANY BIBLIOGRAPHY
     Gunther, Erna, Ethnobotany of Western Washington. Seattle. University of Washington Press. Revised edition, 1973
     Ruby, Robert H and John A. Brown, The Chinook Indians:  Traders of the Lower Columbia River, U Oklahoma P, 1976