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Pacific Coast Natives

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FC: The Pacific Coast Natives | BY:Ciera, Lilly, Josh M. and Aaron

1: Table Of Contents

2: Geographic Location | More than eleven thousand years ago, the Pacific Coast Natives lived by the coast of British Colombia and Yukon Territories. They were known to have the wettest spot of land in all of Canada! In the winter, the temperature was around 1 degree celsius. Their winters were wet and they did not have a lot of snow. Although winter could be cold, they tended to have mild weather. There is around 200mm of rain in a year. They lived by the beach so they had storms and rainfalls coming off the ocean. One storm could last five whole days! Their houses were surrounded by very lush forests. The most popular kind of tree in the forest was a cedar tree and red cedar tree. Some other trees that grew in the forests were pine, trembling aspen and Douglas. The soil was grey and black dirt which was called podzolic. Sometimes, if it was a foggy day, there could be up to five miles of fog! Since, they lived right on the beach, it could be dangerous for them because the ocean could flood the lowlands by the shore. | It was a hard situation because the water was the main method of transportation. They learned to adapt to the weather. In my opinion, I think that the Pacific Coast Natives had some challenges but otherwise they lived in a good environment.

3: The Pacific Coast Natives lived right by the beach line of British Columbia. | The Pacific Coast Natives lived on the beach. | They could have very dangerous storms. | This is the Yukon Territory.

4: Main Tribes in the Area | The Pacific Coast Natives were made up of nine tribes. The names of them are Inuit, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Bella Bella, Kwakiutl, Nootka, Salish and Chinook. I am going to focus on two main tribes, Salish and Haida. These two tribes are still here today! The Haida tribe settled in British Columbia at the last ice age and it is believed that they came all the way from Asia. The Haidas were made up of two sections, the Ravens and the Eagles. There was a law that a person from the Eagle group could only marry someone from the Raven group and vice versa. If they got married, the wife would have to move to the husband's group. If you marry someone from the same section of the Haida tribe, you have broken the law. The Haidians loved to decorate and do art. They would paint tattoos on people's arms showing symbols of their family. If they had no pain, they were strong and courageous. There were about 30 longhouses in their village. | One of the Haida tribes were named after this bird the raven. | One of the Haida tribes were named after the eagle

5: The Salish tribe lived right near Vancouver Island. They lived independently in their part of British Columbia until the Europeans came in 1790. They made their house out of red cedar bark. They lived right in the middle of a forest so some of them died from diseases from the trees or fruit that were poisonous. They lived on the opposite side from the Haida tribe. The Salish people enjoyed dancing. They would dress up in their traditional clothes and dance in the center of their village. In their stories, the frog was the most honoured species. Elders would tell their stories to the younger ones. There would be lessons in the stories to help the children go in the right direction and do good things. Wisdom was the most important thing in life to the Salish people. All Salish people believed that everyone has superpowers and could scare away a bad spirit or cure people who were ill. I think the Haida and Salish tribes are very important tribes to the Northwest Coast Natives. | This is what the Haida would carve on canoes, houses and draw on tattoos. | This is a Salish Family

6: Social Structure The social structure means the government of the Pacific Coast. The most important member of the government was the chief. The chief's job was to give advice and decide when there were going to be wars. He also decided if he wanted to do a trade or get a totem pole carved. The chief had peopled named nobles and commoners. The lowest members of government were slaves. The slaves did the chief's work and had to do what the chief said. Most of the time the government were men but sometimes there were a few women. The nobles came after the chief and then the commoners. They both lived next to where the chief lived, but most of the time they were at the place where the chief lived. The slaves did not live next to the chief's place but they were always there. The chief could decide if the nobles or the commoners moved away and got fired. Most of the chief's people were commoners. There were over 50 commoners, around 15 nobles and about 20 slaves. This is what the government was like in the Pacific Coast tribes and I think it was a pretty interesting government.

7: This is a picture of an old chief with some of his nobles.

8: Theories of origin Scientists believe that the Natives arrived during the last ice age. During this time, the water was frozen, creating a land bridge called Beringia. The Natives crossed this bridge into Alaska, and moved south into British Columbia.

9: This is a statue that the Pacific Coast Natives believe is a god.

10: Shelter The Northwest Coast Natives lived in longhouses by the beach coast. Their houses can also be called plank-houses. They made their houses out of cedar bark. It took a long time to build them. They put a lot of effort into the process. They did not use big machines or nails. They just used human strength! In the houses, they dug a big hole to make a basement so that it fit more people. The Pacific Coast Natives worked together to build their houses. Building a house took a long time and they worked really hard to make it the best house it could be. How did Northwest Coast Natives set up their houses? The houses were very big so they had bunk beds all around the sides of the house. Their bunks were three beds high. Each bed had a small weaved blanket and pillow. The storage room was very small. The roof could open slightly so that the smoke from the fire would not build up in the house. Our houses now have chimneys, closets and single beds. It was very different back then for them. Each person that lived there had to help with the house in all different ways so that it stayed in order and did not become a big mess. | This was what a longhouse looked like, it was very decorative.

11: Who lived in the houses of the Northwest coast Natives? Cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents, parents and other family all lived in one house. They all worked together. In the house, there was a chief master who ruled the house and gave orders to his family. There could be over one hundred people living together in each big longhouse! Sometimes they would have family meetings to discuss problems, have celebrations and do housekeeping. I think longhouses created a community which gave Northwest Coast Natives a chance to work together. | This is what the inside of the long houses looked like.

12: Every Pacific Coast native had an important role in their community. They all had to do different things to keep there families alive. The role of men in the family and community was to hunt for food and fish. They would go out early to work so he could bring back food for breakfast and the rest of the day's meals. To build houses they would pound and soften cedar bark. They were the ones who carved the family's life into the totem poles. Women also had a big role in the family and community. They were the ones who would make clothes for the family so they all stayed warm in the winter. Women also prepared the food and cleaned up the houses. It was a hard role because longhouses were very big. When the man of the family would come home with the food he caught, the woman of the family would take off the skin. | Roles of the Community | Women played a very important role in fur trades. They would be the peace makers. Men would fight with each other, the women calmed them down. The kids would help their mother pick berries off the bushes and sort them in a big basket. Kids would sometimes go down to the beach and dig for clams and shellfish. They did this because they could not hunt yet and it was an easier job to dig in the sand for fish. In my opinion, I think everyone worked together to keep the family alive.

13: This is the berry bush the kids would pick berries from. | Men would carve and build canoes. | This is a picture of two women working.

14: Ways of communication | The Northwest Coast Natives communicated in a lot of different ways. The Northwest Coast Natives communicated with totem poles. They would use them to pass down important history and to teach obligations and responsibilities from generations to generations. The Northwest Coast Natives also had ways to talk to each other in good and in time of danger. Smoke signals were used to communicate visually over a long distance. A ‘’signaler’’ would start a fire on high ground [like a hill], then using damp grass which causes a ray of smoke to rise, a smoke signal would be created. The grass would be taken off as it dried and then another bundle of grass would be placed in the fire. If the smoke came from half way up the hill, it would mean all was well, but if it came from the very top it meant danger here. Smoke signal could also be used to signal other news or to gather people or a tribe to an area. Overall, the Northwest Coast Natives had very sophisticated ways of passing down information and communicating with tribes that were close or very far away.

15: This is a ''signaler'' using a smoke signal to communicate. | This is a totem pole used and made by the Pacific Coast Natives.

16: Methods of transportation | First Nations of the Northwest Coast only had one way for transportation. They only moved by water. Since they had so much water around them, they could do so many things with the water that they had. First Nation people of the Northwest lived near the Pacific Ocean so they relied on the water to get them from place to place. They used the ocean as much as possible for food, water and transportation. The first nations of the Northwest Coast used the ocean for many things. One of which, was traveling. They traveled on canoes that they built very strongly by hand. First Nations of the Northwest Coast were great at navigating around the water ways. This is why they had many opportunities of where they could go and what kind of fish they could eat. They used canoes on the ocean to travel to potlatches and other types of parties. They also used the water that they had to fish and to get fresh water. | Overall, The Natives of the Northwest Coast relied a lot on this water for all different reasons. They really needed this water to get around because it was the only way they could get around. This is why the First Nations of the Northwest Coast were so lucky to be living on the coast of the Northwest. I think that having so much water gave the Natives of the Northwest Coast a huge advantage that not all the tribes had.

17: This is a First Nation women fishing in the water because she relies on the water for more than transportation. | These are First Nations on a canoe that will take them to their destination. This is how they got from place to place. | This is the Pacific Ocean. The First Nations of the Northwest Coast lived near this ocean, so they used it for many things. One thing they used it for was for transportation.

18: Food dishes | The Northwest Coast Natives ate many food dishes. The Northwest Coast ate their food with fine cutlery and plates. Their spoons were made from mountain goat horn and bowls and plates were made from wood. The Northwest Coast ate several kinds of fish and animals including shellfish and seaweed. They collected from the seashore salmon, halibut, walrus, seal and seagulls. To preserve the fish they usually would put it in oil. If they wanted to eat it right away, they would roast it over a fire. They would also preserve food by gutting and cleaning the fish or they dried the fish out with salt and heat (fire usually).Overall, the Northwest Coast natives ate various types of food and had unique ways on how to preserve their food. | The Pacific Coast Natives eat this food dish called fish soup with vegetables.

19: This is a Pacific Coast Native Salad which is still made today. | They enjoyed eating fish.

20: Food sources | The Northwest Coast Natives got their food from a lot of different places. Men hunted deer, elk, moose, beaver and other animals found in their forest. They also fished in the summer for food. While the men fished, the women usually went in groups to collect other food like edible plants, such as berries and plants and other sources of food found on beach shores [like seaweed].Some women would weave special baskets that were set in the water to trap fish. The men used a lot of unique weapons to hunt. They used weapons like spears, knives, clubs, snares, bows and toh-yoahs [arrows]. Tribes had problems because there was no refrigeration so most fish had to be roasted over a fire slowly in order to become completely dry and well preserved. They would preserve their picked berries in bottles of whale or seal oil.

21: Overall, the Northwest Coast Natives had a valuable source of different foods. | This is the Pacific Ocean where the Pacific Coast Natives got their fish.

22: The Northwest First Nations were very talented when it came to art. They were amazing craftsman. All the things that they needed in their daily lives, were made by the materials that they had nearby. All of the art that they had was handmade which is why trees were very important to First Nations for crafting. Trees were very important because each tree had special uses for different kinds of art. The springy wood was used to make weapons such as bows and harpoons. Yellow cedar and alder were carved into bowls, dishes and spoons. Red wood of the south coast was used for canoe making and building other things. But the one tree that was widely available and useful, was the red cedar. Red cedar was used to make masks,totem poles, boxes and even houses. The original totem poles were made by the people of the Northwest Coast. Totem poles had symbols and each symbol had a different sign. There were pictures and writing and each one had a special meaning. The totem poles told family history. When someone finished making a totem pole, everyone got together and had feasts and ceremonies to honour the people who worked so hard on making it. Totem poles had symbols and each symbol had a different sign. | Art Of The Pacific Coast Natives

23: They made and carved wooden masks to resemble beasts or humans. If you pulled the strings on an octopus mask, the tentacles moved and the octopus mouth opened and shut. Also, these masks resembled and represented animals, humans and other creatures. These masks were made from cedar wood and they were worn at ceremonies. The Haida tribe were very good at making canoes. Bigger canoes went miles and miles in the dangerous water along the coast. The Haida tribe decorated their canoes with family crests and other symbols. All of the things that were made were very important to the daily lives of these First Nations of the Northwest Coast. The Northwest First Nations People used baskets for storage and carrying water from place to place. They were woven from grass and river seeds. These baskets had many geometric patterns and designs. Everyone decorated their work freely with geometric designs and family symbols. Basket weaving was done in the rain to make sure that the materials they needed did not dry out. Just like the baskets, mats were made from reeds and cedar bark. The Northwest Coast First Nations used mats for sitting and sleeping. Mats were also filled with many symbols and designs.

24: Overall, art played a big role in the history of these talented people. All of the art they made had a special meaning which is why there are so many symbols on all of their art. I think that it is so important to understand how art spoke to these people enough to make their own special kind of art. | This is what the Natives of the Northwest used to make most of there art. The Red Cedar was very useful to them. | This is a weaved basket that a women from the Pacific Coast Natives made. These baskets were very useful for many reasons.

25: This mask resembles an animal and has many symbols painted on it. | This totem pole was built by the Northwest Coast Natives. Only the Northwest Coast Natives built totem poles. That is why they are very special. | This canoe also has many symbols painted on it. They are very important family crests and symbols that the Northwest Coast Natives painted on their canoes.

26: Clothing | The Pacific Coast Natives were very special people. The Natives of north coast were made up of 9 tribes. There were 2 tribes that were very important. These tribes were Salish and Haida. Each tribe wore similar clothing. All the tribes were influenced on one another because they all had the same traditions. In the summer ,it was very hot outside. Woman wore short skirts made from cedar bark. The skirts that they wore were light, cool and they dried quickly so that the woman would not over heat. Men usually didn’t wear any clothing during the summer except for when they went fishing. While fishing in the rain, men wore a protective cape to keep them from getting wet. The capes were made from cattails or cedar bark. Also, in the summer, everyone went barefoot. There was only one exception. When people went to special occasions and parties, they wore moccasins. These were made from cedar bark. In the winter, First Nations of the Northwest were protected by water light buckskin. Water light is like a rain coat. It keeps the water from getting you wet. For special occasions in the winter, women wore cream coloured capes woven from goat or dog wool. Men wore belted robes, dance aprons or waist robes for special occasions. These often were made from buckskin or other types of fur.

27: Some men wore cattail capes and fringed leggings. Wealthy people wore beautifully designed woven and sleeved coats. Many hats were worn by everyone. The hats were cone designed and fashionable. People who wore these hats were also able to function very well. The hats had a brim that protected themselves from the rain. Also, there were rings on the hats that tell how many parties he or she has made. It also had the rings so other people knew how much money that person had and how social that person was. These hats also told people if a person was married or not. They were very colourful with painted animal designs. They were important to wear at special occasions so people knew more about them. Even children wore these hats at special occasions. As you can see, the Northwest Coast Natives were very special people who were very influenced on one another. These Natives have many traditions that they depend on. This is why it is very important to understand the culture, including the clothing these Natives wore.

28: The women from the Pacific Coast Natives wore these short skirts during the summer time. | This is a cone shaped hat that symbolizes how important the guests who came to the Potlatches were.. | This is a moccasin that the Pacific Coast Natives wore to potlatches.

29: Tools and weapons The Pacific Coast Natives used a lot of tools and weapons. They used wooden helmets, slat armor and carved masks in wars. In the wars they terrified their enemies. They also fought with arrows, spears and clubs. There were tools for catching salmon, halibut and cod. They went in a boat with canoe paddles. For a gourmet diet their spoons were made out of mountain goat horn. Wooden grease bowls were also used sometimes. Also, they used bowls with shell inlays. Those are some examples of the weapons and tools the Pacific Coast Natives used. | This is a picture of a wooden canoe paddle that the Natives from the Pacific Coast used.

30: Special Dances | The Northwest Coast Natives had very important special dances for their special occasions. One special dance was done on every New Years. Dancers did the Indian classical dance. Some of their special dances included the eagle raven and salmon dance. A group of people would sing, dance and drum on these special occasions. In the Salish tribe, new dancers were sent a tent with blankets inside the longhouse .This lets them connect to their spiritual helpers. The Northwest Coast Natives dancers also preformed dances with characters. The dancers wore special clothes and masks to represent important characters or people. During the day, the dancers walked in the woods and took a bath in cold streams of water to symbolize pureness. Dance was very important in the Haida and Salish culture. Dances happened less often by the 1870s because Europeans were frightened by the dances and stopped it from happening However, the Haida would secretly dance and teach the younger generation so that the special dances would live on. In my opinion, the Northwest Coast Natives had unique dances that we still perform today. | This is a picture of Pacific Coast Natives dancing in Ogibway.

31: Special Events | All the tribes of the Pacific Coast celebrated events in a slightly different way. The Salish tribe's special events include a lot of music and dancing. They had potlatches | that were full of many people and amazing music. Potlatches are celebrations wealthy people would make to mark important life events. They had potlatches to celebrate the birth of a child or marriage. First Nations that went to these potlatches came for singing, dancing, food and to receive gifts from the hosts of the party. The guests that came were people who lived in the village and very important people from other villages. The social status of the guests was very important because guests got seated based on how high their social status was. The highest ranking members that attended the party were served the meals first. The potlatch or the person who had the party, would want to share news and make people understand the wealth of the host. At celebrations like these, there was always leftovers of food and guests always took the leftovers home to their families. The host did this so that the guests would speak about the generosity of the host. The guests received gifts and presents when they came. They received carved cedar boxes, canoes and coppers. These were very useful gifts. Some hosts would make themselves bankrupt or destroy their own property just because they wanted to show their wealth of how they could replace it easily. They did this to out do other hosts and potlatches.

32: As you can see, potlatches are so important in the Salish culture. They are more important to this culture than to any other culture in the Northwest. Even today,these parties play an important role in the Salish culture. These parties were very important and were the way to celebrate even the tiniest things in life. I think that it is wonderful to have happy events taking place in our everyday lives, and this is how the Natives of the Northwest Coast did it! | This picture is the Pacific Coast Natives dancing and celebrating at a potlatch. | This picture is a carved cedar box that the guests received at a potlatch. They are very useful gifts.

33: Arrival Of the Europeans | The Europeans arrived in the 1770s. At the beginning, they were eagerly welcomed to Canada. They mostly exchanged metal tools, blankets and guns for their furs. The Europeans then introduced the Natives to alcohol. This made the Natives make bad choices when trading. They would trade lots of land for just one tool. The Natives cured many diseases that the European's got. One of them was Scurvy which is a disease of lack of vitamin C. On the other hand, the Europeans also brought disease that the Natives were not used to and therefore many Natives got ill and died. Overall, I think the Europeans were unfair giving the Natives alcohol so that they would make bad choices. | This is a picture of the Europeans arriving in the Natives' territory.

34: Famous People One of the famous people from the Pacific Coast was a guy named Crowfoot. Crowfoot was born in Alberta in 1830 but his father was killed when he was 2 years old. Crowfoot was tall and generous throughout his life, but he had a bad temper. This may be because Crowfoot went through some hard things in life such as having no father. Crowfoot was famous for being a fierce warrior who earned a reputation for keeping piece. Crowfoot never missed a chance to help the needy. When Crowfoot's mother was killed, he started fighting and starting wars. Sometimes he would win, and sometimes he would lose. When Crowfoot died everyone remembered him for taking risks in life. Crowfoot was one of the most famous people ever to the Pacific Coast Natives. I think that Crowfoot did some really interesting and risky things in his life.

35: This is a picture of Crowfoot.

36: Today's Natives | There are still many Natives who live among us today. Some are very happy to say who they are. Some are very proud of where they come from. There are some Natives that are not so happy to call themselves Natives. Hundreds of years ago, the Europeans came to Canada and taught the First Nations how to be civilized. The Natives learned different ways of living and this effected their ways of life. Many Natives were very upset about this that they would do many horrible things to themselves. Some looked to drugs, alcohol and even suicide. This shows how big the impact was of the Europeans coming to Canada and showing the First Nations a whole new lifestyle. Today, some Natives are still upset about this and continue to do these thing because they are missing leadership and a sense of belonging. Some Natives carry on their traditions of having potlatches and parties. Today they last from 12 to 24 hours. Some Natives live on reservations, and have land to call their own. Some even attend the Olympics to carry on their wonderful past. As you can see, the impact that the Europeans had on these First Natives was huge. Even though this does carry on, more people are aware of what is happening. I am very happy that some Natives can still carry on their traditions.

37: This picture is the first contact between the Europeans and First Natives. | This bird symbolizes the First Natives that still attend the Olympics today.

38: Some of the sources we used: Press, Petra Indians of The Northwest Courage Books – 1997 Stanford, Quentin H. Canadian Oxford School Atlas 1994-2004 http://www.google.com/images | Bibliography

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  • Title: Pacific Coast Natives
  • Lilly, Ciera, Aaron and Josh are in Grade 6 at Danilack. They worked together to put together this fantastic mixbook about the Pacific Coast Natives. We hope you enjoy it!
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