What Are Some Facts About the Chinook Tribe?


Quick Answer

The diet of the Chinook Indian tribe consisted mostly of fish, especially salmon. They were both hunters and gatherers; their diet consisted mostly of fish, but they also hunted elk, deer and sea mammals, while the women would gather roots, berries and shellfish.

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Full Answer

The Chinook were skilled traders who traded mostly with tribes that were in close geographic proximity. The famed Lewis and Clark expedition encountered the tribe in 1805 along the lower Columbia River, and the meetings were friendly. The two groups even exchanged gifts.

A Chinook village was always led by a man. The clan leaders could female or male. Chief Tumulth is one of the most famous Chinook Indians, as he was the one who signed the 1855 treaty that created the Grand Ronde Reservation.

The tribe wove beautiful baskets, which were both functional and a form of art. The culture of the Chinook Indians involved body art, including body paints and tattoos. The Chinook painted and tattooed their faces and bodies with different patterns to commemorate different occasions, such as warfare, mourning or religious ceremonies. The Chinook women wore necklaces made out of beads as well as short bark or grass skirts. The Chinook wore fur robes and moccasins during cold weather.

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