native northwest

The tendency of Americans to overestimate what they have accomplished on their own and deny how much they owe to others has been codified in the myth that the colonists came on an “errand into the wilderness” and built a land of plenty out of nothing. In reality, however, the abundant concentrations of game, plants, and berries that so astonished Eastern colonists were not “natural”; they had been produced by the cooperative husbandry and collective land-use patterns of Native Americans. In the Northwest, the valuable Douglas fir forests and plentiful herds of deer and elk found by early settlers existed only because Native American burning practices had created sustained-yield succession forests that maximized use of these resources without exhausting them
—  The Way We Never Were: American Families And The Nostalgia Trap
Stephanie Coontz

Makah Dancer

A member of the Neah Bay Makah Nation dons an eagle headdress at Olympic National Park. On August 18th, 2017 a dedication and renaming ceremony was held officially renaming the Olympic Wilderness to the “Daniel J. Evans Wilderness”. The Makah performed a blessing and presented a thunderbird totem to the Olympic National Park Service to consecrate the cermony. The Makah are native to the Olympic Peninsula.

Northwest blanket gun

Manufactured for the North-Western fur trade beyond the Hudson Bay, sawn off and engraved by Tlingit natives c.late 18th century.
.69 caliber smoothbore barrel, flintlock single shot musket.

Northwest type guns were a specific model used to trade with American natives during the 18th and early 19th century, which were characterized by a brass serpent plate on the left side of the lock and an enlarged triggerguard to allow shooting with either thick gloves or two fingers.

A Northwest gun’s distinctive brass plate, signed Pritchett c.1829.

These were suited for war and hunting and were greatly appreciated by native tribes, who lacked the infrastructure to produce them but well understood their superiority to more ‘traditional’ weapons.

Two full-length Northwest guns.

November is Native American Heritage Month!

Indigenous peoples have relied on and protected the ocean for centuries. Many national marine sanctuaries, like Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, now work closely with local tribes. Here, students from the Quileute Tribal School pilot remotely operated vehicles that they built with help from the sanctuary and the University of Washington School of Oceanography. 

(Photo: NOAA)

November is Native American Heritage Month! 

Indigenous peoples have been relying on and stewarding ocean areas for millennia. Today, national marine sanctuaries work closely with Native American tribes and nations to protect our natural heritage. Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, for example, collaborates with the Quinault Indian Nation and the Hoh, Quileute, and Makah tribes to ensure these Pacific Northwestern waters are protected for everyone. Here, a canoe is launched near Cannonball Rock. 

(Photo: NOAA)

Raven Sculpture

Kwakwaka'wakw culture of British Columbia

Made by Harris Smith in 2000

Raven is a central character in many Northwest Coast myths. Deceitful, dark and manipulative, he is known as a trickster and existed in the world before now, when the roles of humans and animals were not so well defined. Able to change form from animals to humans to spirits, raven easily moved between the many worlds believed to exist. While he accomplished many feats, one of his most outstanding was bringing light to the world. Frustrated with living in a dark world without a smidgen of light, Raven discovered that the Sky God held light in a secret box in his house in the Sky.  He began plotting how to steal the light. According to legend, he disguised himself as the Sky God’s (Keeper of the Light) grandson in order to gain access to the magical box that held all of the light in the world–the Sun, the Moon and the stars. In the end, he fooled the Sky God and released light into the world.

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Made it through my first public reading last night to promote my novel, Ghosts on the Highway. It was well attended and my nerves settled once I started reading. I’m used to performing in public but with a guitar and lots of noise and distortion, haha. The bookstore cat kind of stole the spotlight (and drank all my water)! Great night…thanks to everyone who came out!