Scott Stearns
The Chinook Indians
The Chinook Nation included a vast number of tribes about 16,000 in the early 1800s, settled along the banks of the Columbia River, starting from British Columbia, Canada, through Eastern Washington State all chinook.gifthe way to the Pacific Ocean. The Chinook were dependent on fish for food; salmon, smelt and sturgeon came in seemingly endless supply, meaning the Chinook did not have to work very hard to feed their families, and could concentrate on more pleasant social activities, from dancing to storytelling.
The Chinook were a placid people, with hedonistic tendencies and did not do well in warfare, which accounts for their use of "hired assassins" to carry out their dirty deeds; this was uncommon though, as the Chinook preferred to resolve conflicts though water challenge rituals, which would end in reconciliation and the exchange of gifts.

The Chinook were also skilled traders, bartering with Europeans and other Indian tribes from as far away as the Great Plains. They traded in everything from fur to dried fish to seashells, even slaves.high_690.jpg
Today, the last descendants of Chinookean stock live on reservations in Washington and Oregon, with a large segment of the population remaining in and around the Columbia region, mainly Bay Center, Chinook, and Ilwaco. There are currently over two thousand registered members of the Chinook Nation and hundreds more applying for membership. Their legacy is that of a placid, thriving society; never to fully reveal its complex culture and mythology, save for a few scattered texts, artifacts and images.

Chief Comcomly and the Chinook Tribe ...

Chief Comcomly was one of the Chiefs of the Chinook Tribe at the time of Lewis and Clark. He was born around 1770 and died in 1829 or 1830. During his lifetime he was a trader, navigator, and not only befriender of Lewis and Clark, but also benefactor of the early Astorians. Chief Comcomly's village was located atChinook Point, today the location of Fort Columbia. Chief Comcomly first appears in the historic record in the journal of Captain Charles Bishop of the British ship Ruby which wintered in Baker’s Bay from December 1795 to January 1796. Lewis and Clark first met him in November 1805.

"... This Chin nook Nation is about 400 Souls inhabid the Countrey on the Small rivrs which run into the bay below us and on the Ponds to the N W of us, live principally on fish and roots, they are well armed with fusees and Sometimes kill Elk Deer and fowl. our hunters killed to day 3 Deer, 4 brant and 2 Ducks, and inform me they Saw Some Elk Sign. I directed all the men who wished to See more of the main Ocian to prepare themselves to Set out with me early on tomorrow morning. The principal Chief of the Chinnooks & his familey came up to See us this evening ..." [Clark, November 17, 1805]
"... found maney of the Chin nooks with Capt. Lewis of whome there was 2 Cheifs Com com mo ly &Chil-lar-la-wil to whome we gave Medals and to one a flag. ..." [Clark, November 20, 1805]
Replication of Cheif Comcomly's Burial Canoe
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