Northwest Coastal Culture

Northwest Coastal Cultural Traits

1.   Sedentary hunter/fisher/gatherers
.   Fish an important food source, particularly salmon
.   Acorns an important food source
.   Made and relied on large 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 large cedar plank houses which accommodated 3 to 10 families (totem poles appeared after 1780)
7.   Traded extensively
8.   No government
9.   Excellent carvers
10. Traded for and kept slaves

Northwest Coastal Culture languages and tribes:

Phylum / Stock / Family / Language Tribe
Mosan / Chimacuan / Chimacuan / Chimacuan Chimacu
Mosan / Chimacuan / Chimacuan / Quileutte Quileutte
Hoh
Mosan / Salishan / Central Coast Salishan / Clallum Clallum
Mosan / Salishan / Central Coast Salishan / Northern Lushootseed Skagit
Snohomish
Swinomish
Mosan / Salishan / Central Coast Salishan / Northern Straits Salishan Lummi
Semiahmoo
Mosan / Salishan / Central Coast Salishan / Southern Lushootseed Duwamish
Muckelshoot
Nisqually
Puyallup
Sahewamish
Snoqualmie
Suquamish
Mosan / Salishan / Tsamosan / Maritime Tsamosan Queets
Quinault
Northwest Coastal Ethnobotany  
Common Name Scientific Name Use Comment
Alaska Cedar Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (D. Don) Spach Boats Used to make canoes and paddles
Aleutian Maidenhair Adiantum aleuticum (Rupr.) Paris Basketry Stems used for the designs in baskets.
American Skunkcabbage Lysichiton americanus HultÚn & St. John Food Root centers eaten after boiling eight times.
Bigleaf Maple Acer macrophyllum Pursh Hunting Bark cut into one-inch bands, fastened together into a roll and used to catch deer.
Black Cottonwood Populus deltoides Bartr. ex Marsh. Glue Pitch used to attach feathers to arrows
Basketry Roots used
Tattooing Pitch used to apply soot in the tattooing process.
Blue Huckleberry Vaccinium membranaceum Dougl. ex Torr. Food Berries eaten fresh, berries pulped, dried and stored for winter use.
Broadleaf Cattail Typha latifolia L. Clothing Leaves woven together to make raincoats
Bunchberry Dogwood Cornus canadensis L. Smoking Leaves dried and smoked.
Misc. Leaves woven to make mats
California Blackberry Rubus ursinus ssp. macropetalus (Dougl. ex Hook.) Taylor & MacBryde Food Berries eaten fresh, berries pulped and dried for winter use, fruits stewed and used for food.
California Groundcone Blechnum spicant (L.) Sm. Food Eaten when young
California Hazelnut Corylus cornuta var. californica (A. DC.) Sharp Food Nuts used for food, nuts dried for later use
Basketry Stems used in basketry, dried shoots soaked in water and used to make baskets.
California Nettle Urtica dioica ssp. gracilis (Ait.) Seland. Food Tender shoots cooked and eaten.
Cordage Mature shoot fibers used to make cordage.
Cascade Oregongrape Mahonia nervosa (Pursh) Nutt. Food Ripe berries formerly used for food, berries pulped, dried and stored in cakes for winter use.
Dye Roots used to dye basketry material.
Cluster Rose Rosa pisocarpa Gray Food Fruits eaten fresh, fruits eaten in winter.
Columbian Lily Lilium columbianum hort. ex Baker Food Bulbs baked or steamed in an earth oven and eaten, corms steamed and eaten.
Common Beargrass Xerophyllum tenax (Pursh) Nutt. Basketry New sprouts used to make baskets, especially for designs, grass used as a border pattern in baskets.
Clothing Small leaves used to make dresses.
Common Cowparsnip Heracleum maximum Bartr. Food Stem layers eaten raw
Common Juniper Juniperus communis var. montana Ait. Decoration Dried berries used to decorate dresses and make necklaces
Common Madia Madia elegans D. Don ex Lindl. Food Seeds parched and pounded into a flour.
Deerbrush Ceanothus integerrimus Hook. & Arn. Basketry New shoots used to make baskets
Deer Fern Blechnum spicant (L.) Sm. Misc. Leaves used for bedding
Douglas Fir Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirbel) Franco Candy Young sprouts used to chew
Weapons Used to make salmon spears and harpoons.
Building Formerly used to make shakes and clapboards for houses.
Edible Thistle Cirsium edule Nutt. Food Young shoots eaten as greens
Englemann's Spruce Picea engelmannii Parry ex Engelm. Building Timber used to make shakes, clapboards and framing timbers.
Cordage Limbs and roots shredded, pounded, and used to make cord and rope.
Evergreen Huckleberry Vaccinium ovatum Pursh Food Fresh berries used for food or dried and stored
Giant Chainfern Woodwardia fimbriata Sm. Basketry Leaf fiber used to make baskets.
Giant Horsetail Equisetum telmateia var. braunii (Milde) Milde Food Very small, fresh sprouts used for food.
Golden Chunkapin Chrysolepis chrysophylla var. chrysophylla Food "Nuts" roasted in coals and eaten, "nuts" shaken out of the dried fruits, rolled over hot coals and eaten.
Gordon's Mockorange Philadelphus lewisii Pursh Weapons Older, less pithy wood formerly used to make bows, young, very pithy shoots used to make arrows.
Grayleaf Red Raspberry Rubus idaeus ssp. strigosus (Michx.) Focke Food Fruits eaten raw, fruits stewed and used for food.
Grouse Whortleberry Vaccinium scoparium Leib. ex Coville Food Berries used for food
Tools Branches used as brooms
Gummy Gooseberry Ribes lobbii Gray Food Fresh fruits used for food
Hairy Brackenfern Pteridium aquilinum var. pubescens Underwood Food Rhizomes roasted, peeled and the starchy centers eaten.
Hinds' Willow Salix exigua Nutt. Basketry Young shoots and roots used, stems used for the main ribs in baskets as an alternate for Corylus stems.
Medicine Numerous uses
Hollyleaved Barberry Mahonia aquifolium (Pursh) Nutt. Dye Root used to dye porcupine quills yellow.
Food Fruit eaten raw or mashed, berries pulped, dried and stored in cakes for winter use.
Kinnikinnick Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng. Smoking Leaves used as a tobacco substitute
Indian Plum Oemleria cerasiformis (Torr. & Gray ex Hook. & Arn.) Landon Food Berries eaten raw with wild currants.
Meadow Deathcamas Zigadenus venenosus S. Wats. Food Bulbs used for food
Menzies' Pepperweed Lepidium virginicum var. menziesii (DC.) C.L. Hitchc. Food Leaves eaten raw or used as greens
Nodding Onion Allium cernuum Roth Food Bulbs pit baked and used for food.
Nootka Rose Rosa nutkana K. Presl Food Hips mixed with dried salmon eggs to enhance the flavor.
Drink Leaves used to make tea.
Oregon Ash Fraxinus latifolia Benth. Tools Wood used for digging sticks
Oregon Crabapple Malus fusca (Raf.) Schneid. Food Fruit ripened in storage and then eaten.
Oregon Oxalis Oxalis oregana Nutt. Food Plant eaten with dried fish
Oregon White Oak Quercus garryana Dougl. ex Hook. Food Acorns stored up to one year, ground, leached, cooked into mush, soup, cakes, bread
Pacific Dogwood Cornus nuttallii Audubon ex Torr. & Gray Weapon Dry wood used to make foreshafts of salmon harpoons.
Smoking Leaves dried and smoked.
Pacific Madrone Arbutus menziesii Pursh Food Berries eaten fresh or roasted, dried for later use
Drink Berried crushed for a refreshing drink
Toys Bark used by children as sleds
Medicine Numerous uses
Clothes Inner bark sewn together
Fishing Berries used as bait
Decoration Berries used to make necklaces
Pacific Red Elder Sambucus racemosa var. racemosa Food  Fresh berries used for food, berries pit baked and used for food, fruits used to make a sauce, berries steamed, pulped and dried for winter use, berries cooked, wrapped in skunk cabbage leaves and preserved for winter use.
Pacific Serviceberry Amelanchier alnifolia var. semiintegrifolia (Hook.) C.L. Hitchc. Food Berries eaten fresh or mashed and dried for winter use, berries dried, boiled with dog salmon and eaten at feasts.
Pacific Willow Salix lucida ssp. lasiandra (Benth.) E. Murr. Basketry Stems and young shoots used
Medicine Numerous uses
Pacific Yew Taxus brevifolia Nutt. Food Berries eaten
Weapons Wood used to make bows and arrows
Smoking Wood used to make pipes
Boats Wood used to make canoe paddles
Pale Serviceberry Amelanchier pallida Greene Food Berries eaten fresh and dried for future use
Pinemat Manzanita Arctostaphylos nevadensis Gray Food Berries eaten, dried and saved for later use, mixed with salmon roe and formed into patties and cakes
Drink Berries mixed with water
Medicine Numerous uses
Ponderosa Pine Pinus ponderosa P.& C. Lawson Food Nuts eaten, nuts dried, powdered, made into small cakes and eaten with a very thin mush made of grass seeds.
Basketry Roots and straight stems used
Port Orford Cedar Chamaecyparis lawsoniana (A. Murr.) Parl. Building Planks used
Prickly Currant Ribes lacustre (Pers.) Poir. Food Berries eaten fresh.
Red Alder Alnus rubra Bong. Basketry Roots and stems used
Food Sap used for food
Redflower Currant Ribes lacustre (Pers.) Poir. Food Fruit eaten fresh, fruits stewed and used for food.
Red Huckleberry Vaccinium parvifolium Sm. Food Fresh berries used for food or dried and stored for later use
Tools Branches used as a broom
Roughfruit Berry Rubus lasiococcus Gray Food Fruits eaten raw, fruits stewed and used for food.
Salmonberry Rubus spectabilis Pursh Food Young sprouts eaten with seaweed and dried eels, berries eaten fresh, fruits stewed and used for food.
Salal Gaultheria shallon Pursh Food Fresh fruit used for food
Scouler's Willow Salix scouleriana Barratt ex Hook. Basketry Roots used to make baskets
Scouringrush Horsetail Equisetum hyemale L. Food Rootstocks used for food.
Siberian Springbeauty Claytonia sibirica L. Food Shoot tops eaten raw
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.
Building Timber used to make shakes, clapboards and framing timbers.
Cordage Limbs and roots shredded, pounded and used to make cord and rope.
Sitka Willow Salix sitchensis Sanson ex Bong. Basketry Roots used to make baskets, limbs split, pared, scraped, and used to make baskets.
Small Camas Camassia quamash (Pursh) Greene Food Bulbs used for food
Smooth Horsetail Equisetum laevigatum A. Braun Food Rootstocks eaten as a delicacy, rootstocks dried and used for food.
Snow Raspberry Rubus nivalis Dougl. ex Hook. Food Fruits eaten raw, fruits stewed and used for food.
Spreading Gooseberry Ribes divaricatum Dougl. Food Berries eaten fresh and never stored.
Tapertip Onion Allium acuminatum Hook. Food Bulbs pit baked and used for food.
Thimbleberry Rubus parviflorus Nutt. Food Fruit eaten fresh, fruits stewed and used for food, young sprout eaten in spring
Trailing Black Currant Ribes lacustre (Pers.) Poir. Food Berries eaten fresh.
Vine Maple Acer circinatum Pursh Misc. Saplings used as swings for baby cradles and salmon thongs.
Watercress Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum (L.) Hayek Food Young plants boiled and eaten
Western Chokecherry Prunus virginiana var. demissa (Nutt.) Torr. Food Fruit used for food
Western Columbine Aquilegia formosa Fisch. ex DC. Food Sweet nectaries inside the sepal spurs bitten off and savored mostly by the younger people.
Western Dogwood Cornus sericea ssp. occidentalis (Torr. & Gray) Fosberg Smoking Leaves dried and smoked.
Western Hemlock Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg. Fishing Young trees used in fish trap construction.
Western Labradortea Ledum glandulosum Nutt. Drink Leaves simmered to make tea
Western Swordfern Polystichum munitum (Kaulfuss) K. Presl Misc. Leaves used for bedding
Western Teaberry Gaultheria ovatifolia Gray Food Fruits eaten fresh, fruits stewed and made into a sauce.
White Alder Alnus rhombifolia Nutt. Basketry Roots used
Fishing Fresh bark formerly chewed and used as a red dye to color fishermen's bodies for successful fishing.
Whitebark Raspberry Rubus leucodermis Dougl. ex Torr. & Food Fruit eaten fresh, fruits stewed and used for food.
Yerba Buena Clinopodium douglasii (Benth.) Kuntze Medicine Numerous uses
Drink Fresh leaves used to make a refreshing tea.
ETHNOBOTANY BIBLIOGRAPHY
     Gunther, Erna 1973 Ethnobotany of Western Washington. Seattle. University of Washington Press. Revised edition
     Reagan, Albert B. 1936 Plants Used by the Hoh and Quileute Indians. Kansas Academy of Science 37:55-70
     Theodoratus, Robert J. 1989 Loss, Transfer, and Reintroduction in the Use of Wild Plant Foods in the Upper Skagit Valley. Northwest Anthropological Research Notes 23(1):35-52