What Are Some Facts About the Makah Tribe for Children?

Some facts about the Makah tribe that children are often interested in include that the Makah people live along the Pacific Northwest Coast, mostly in Washington State, that they live on a reservation and that the Makah language is still spoken by some of the elders. The word Makah means "generous one," and it was actually given to the tribe by English speakers. The tribe's original name, Qwiqwidicciat, which means "people of the point," was considered too hard to pronounce.

Makah babies were carried in cradle boards on their mothers' backs. These were attached like backpacks, which freed up the mother's hands for work. In early Makah life, children had more chores than in modern times, but they had toys, games and dolls to play with. The dolls could be made of corn husks, bundled pine needles, wood or leather and often wore out quickly.

Several Makah families usually shared a plank house, which could be up to 60 feet long. The abundance of tall trees along the Pacific Coast gave the Makah plenty of cedar wood to build with. Women took care of the cooking and child care and gathered plants, herbs and shellfish, while the men did the hunting and the fishing. Art, music, storytelling and traditional medicine duties were shared. A clan leader could be a man or a woman, but the chief was always male.

During warmer weather, Makah men would often wear only a breech-clout, while women wore grass or cedar bark skirts. Rush capes protected against rain. In winter, tunics, fur cloaks and moccasins were worn to fend off the cold. Women usually wore braids, while the men put their hair into a topknot. Cutting hair went against Native American tradition.