Tribes of the Pacific Northwest
The Indians of the Pacific Northwest lived exclusively on hunting and gathering. There were abundance sources of food in the region. A unique food item in the region was salmon. During the salmon spawning season the Indians would hunt and preserve salmon for later use. There was also an abundance of other sea life such as crabs and clams. They built canoes and lived in large long houses. The region was abundant in cedar trees which allowed them to build their homes. Some tribes carved totem poles out of trees.
The culture of these indigenous people was very unique since they had an abundance of food. The abundance of food allowed them to practice arts and crafts. They often held potlatches which was a party to celebrate a specific event. Often times the tribes would go to war with other tribes. During these wars slaves were often captured. As a result, the social class of the tribes was either free or slave. Out of the free people wealth was very important. The more wealth you had the higher social class. Slaves had no wealth. Occupation also played heavily into social class structure. There were well over 35 tribes that lived in the region.
Summary of The Tribes of North America
The Mound Builders, Hohokam, and Anasazi eventually fell and gave way to new cultures. These cultures still lived in North America at the time that European explorers were first beginning to arrive on the continent.
The cultures of North America can be placed into six distinct cultural regions: the Southeast, the Northeast Woodlands, the Plains, the Northwest Coast, the Southwest, and the Arctic North. In the Southeast, the Creek, Chickasaw, Cherokee, (and later) the Miccosukee, and the Seminoles were the major cultures. These Native Americans were primarily farmers, harvesting corn, and tobacco, among other things. They lived in loose communities.
In the Northeast, there were the Iroquois, Algonquians, and others. Interestingly, the Iroquois were five Indian nations that joined together in a loose confederation with leaders elected by the women. The peoples of the Northeast live in long, wooden houses, simply called longhouses, and were mostly hunters and gatherers. They did, however, raise corn (maize), squash and beans (the three sisters) which were a very important part of their diet. The Plains were home to many tribes, including the Sioux, Cheyenne, Blackfoot, and Crow tribes. The Plains tribes had a very different way of life than those in the east, due to the abundance of buffalo and deer. The tribes lived in collapsible tepees, which they slept in while following the herds of buffalo, which they hunted for food and clothing.
The Northwest Coastal Indians were fishers. They hunted whale for food and blubber (which they used as oil), and fished in the rivers for the abundant salmon. The Tinglit, Nootka, Kwakiutl and Chinook lived here. They were nomadic.
The desert Southwest was home to the Pueblo, Navajo and Apache tribe. The Pueblo and Navajo tribes built apartment-type dwellings called pueblos. The pueblos were made out of sun dried earth called adobe. They farmed corn and other crops suitable to the area. The Apache were very different than the Pueblo or Navajo tribes; they never settled down and hunted and stole from neighboring tribes. For this reason, they became known as the "Apache Raiders." In the northern Arctic, there were a handful of scattered nomadic tribes, including the Inuit (eskimo) and Inupiat tribes. These tribes followed many of the same customs as the tribes of the Northwest Coast, but they were better suited for the cold temperatures. For example, these tribes built igloos and followed wolves to find caribou to eat.
Most of these tribes would eventually fade away as Europeans quickly snapped up the area that they had discovered in the early 1500s. As tribes interacted with Europeans, customs and items were exchanged in what came to be known as the Columbian Exchange. Seemingly inevitable were the clashes between European settlers and the various tribes of American Indians. Many of these clashes were in the form of uprisings or outright war.
The Pacific Northwest