Amber w., Micaela b., Warren A.



The Salish, related to the Coastal Salish (who speak Coastal Salish), are a small tribe that traveled East from the Columbia Basin area. "..territory ranged across the Columbia Plateau and north well into British Columbia." (Motana: A History of Two Centuries, Malone)
Though they were originally called the Flatheads by Lewis and Clark, the tribe's name for itself was (and is) Salish, which means The People.


According to Salish legend, mankind began when "The Maker" put the animal people on Earth to help rid it of evils. The Maker sent Coyote and his brother, Fox, to Earth. They had been responsible for creating many geological formations and helping provide special skills and knowledge for mankind to use once on Earth. However, Coyote had left many faults such as greed, jealousy, hunger, envy, anger and many other imperfections (cardinal sins).
The moral of the story is that we are all made by The Maker and should love and respect not only each other, but all elements and forces of nature. Each thing on this Earth was believed to have a spirit and must be respected and loved.
And so it goes on to say that Coyote and his brother Fox wait at 'the end of this island" (as the Elders call the land) and when they come back through here, it will be the end of this universe. This will only happen if we do not live as one creation.

Personal Clothing

Cedar trees and animals provided the raw materials needed for clothing and ceremonial costumes
Men – loin cloths
Women – knee length skirts
Buckskin outfits were worn by men hunting, and women during the winter
Buckskin outfits were not for everyday wear, well respected feature of winter dances
Women established strong tradition of weaving woolen and cedar clothing – ‘unity’
Goat wool was another luxury item and only wive and daughters of rich men could afford it
Mukluk boots - made from rabbit fur and suede, with leather draw strings and beadwork
During the summer months men went about naked

Diet/ Food Sources

The Salish supplemented their diet with deer, elk, moose, bear, migratory birds, medicinal plants, roots, herbs, berries, fish (such as salmon, cod, halibut, flounder) and shellfish.
Traditionally, the Salish foods like berries and kelp would be dried or raw. They would mix the berries in with other foods, such as dried salmon. Berries were always a crucial part of the Salish diet for flavor.

Types of Shelter

The Salish housing consisted of two types: The shed (or single pitched) roof and gabled roof.
Shed houses were most popular in the more southern areas, where toward the north, both housing types were present.

The Gabled House-
The essential part of the gabled house was the ridged pole. This pole was supported by two or more posts at it's ends, and one or more under the middle section (depending on it's length and the strength). The walls were smooth, flat planks three to four feet wide.

The Shed House-
The shed house structure was more simple. Four posts were put in the ground, making a square shape, and the two posts in the back were shorter than those in the front. Two parallel timbers were put on top determined by the length of the house. Usually this was sixty or seventy feet long. Additional posts were put in the house if the former ones weren't strong enough to hold.



The Salish had traveled by canoe. They generally dugout cedar canoes that could range from 14 to 26 feet in length. The largest canoes could carry entire families and their traveling gear.

Economic Activities

"The economic basis in this period was much like that of the historic Northwest Coast: taking salmon, halibut, eulachon (candlefish), herring, and other fish with nets, lines, spears, traps, and weirs, hunting sea mammals, mountain sheep and goat, deer, and bear, and collecting shellfish and berries and roots. Population was so high that serious competition for resources involved warfare, attested by burials of young males killed by heavy blows and the erection of defensive forts. By the time the Europeans arrived in the 18th century, the societies of the Northwest had developed ways of life that rank among the most complex and sedentary for nonagricultural people anywhere."

Religious Beliefs

the beliefs or the native people where of pantheism, identifying their gods with nature. their gods often were in forms of animals spirits, the animals represented different elements of the natural world. the native people relied on the spirit gods, and the ancestors of the tribes to guide them through their obstacles or challenges. the religious creeds, and stories explained what they could not, like the changing of the seasons and the whay the land is shaped. theses stories are past down through songs and verbal stories.

Special Ceremony's

soul recovery and journey ceremonies. A ceremony called potlatch is a big celebration that was for a persons change in status, like birthdays, death, marriage and coming of age. the celebration often tuck up to a year to plan. these celebration could last up to two weeks, consisted of costume dancers, singing, and feasts. the potlaches became a way to show a family's wealth and status to the others. gifts would be given based on the gifters social rank, the more that the family gave away the better the family was looked at.


Unique Customs

The Coast Salish practiced the deformation of the heads of their infant children. The bound their heads by binding a cedar-bark pad tightly agaisnt their forehead under a strap tied to the side of the cradle. The reason for this deformation was mainly aesthetic. A flat forehead and wide face was considered more handsome than narrow features and a bulging forehead.

Tools, Weapons and Implements

The Salish people used materials such as horns, animal bone, animal hair, wood, rock, grasses, and shells to create household items like baskets, blankets, hammers, chisels, knives, fishing hook; weapons including harpoons(for whaling), spears, clubs, bow and arrows and eating implements such as spoons and ladles.

Recreation and Games

The Salish had a variety of recreational activities. Competing against each other gave them a chance to show off their bravery and athletic skills. Activities they did included canoe racing, foot faces, tug-of-war, wrestling, bow-and-arrow contests, spear throwing, and gambling. Gambling was a social and economic activity, and was a favorite of the natives. One popular game used sticks and bones as pieces.

Social Organization/Governmental Structure

Neighboring tribes were related by marriage, feasting, ceremonies, and common/shared territory. There was no existing formal political institutions. No formal political office existed. No institutions existed for mobilizing or maintaining a stand force. The highest ranking male assumed the role of ceremonial leader but rank was determined by different standards. The wife usually went to live in the husbands village. Society was divided into upper class, lower class, and slaves. "Nobility was based on genealogy, intertribal kinship, wise use of resources, and possession of esoteric knowledge about the workings of spirits and the world — making an effective marriage of class, secular, religious, and economic power." Coast Salish society was complex, hierarchical and oriented toward property and status
Although the Native Peoples are frequently called "tribes," the political unity that term implies was generally absent. Family, extended ties, and particularly the geographic location of one's winter village were more meaningful identities to the people than the concept of tribe. Among the northern groups, local leadership was hereditary; in the south, wealth generally determined social rank and political position

Trade and Commerce

the native Indians would often trades smoked or dried meat and fruit. the more valuable things were furs and leathers.

Canada's First Peoples. Goldi Productions, 2007. Web. 26 Sept. 2013. <>.

Confederate Salish & Kootenai Tribes. N.p., 2004. Web. 26 Sept. 2013.

Jack, Joe. Coast Salish Artist Joe Jack. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2013. <>.

Margison, Olga. Native Canadian Indians. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2013.

Smith, C R. An Introduction to North America's Native People. N.p., 9
Mar. 2000. Web. 26 Sept. 2013.