Before the Europeans came…


In pre-contact times five Makah villages existed. These included Neah Bay, Biheda, Wasatch, Tsoo-yess, and Ozette. These villages were active and inhabited all year long. When spring and summer came, some people would move to summer residences at Achawat, Kydikabbit, and Tatoosh Island. The migration was usually always spurred by where fishing would be most plentiful.land4

Also in pre-contact times, hunting and fishing were restricted to only men. The activities of woman mostly revolved around gathering shellfish and plant resources and processing the animals killed by the men of the village. The only food preparing activity that was strictly reserved for men was the whale hunt. Plant gathering was mainly a job for woman, not many men at all participated. The exceptions to this are in circumstances where the men would need to utilize plants for ritualistic needs.

After the Europeans came to the Makah tribe, they utilized their technology in their every day lives. Prior to this time the Makah already had their own technology and tools. They utilized the trees for most of their tools and storage. They could use the tres to make a number of items ranging from cooking and storage boxes, to baskets and rope made from the bark and as strong as anything else. Other items the Makah tribe used were oil containers made from the stomachs of animals, diapers and clothing made soft beaten bark, arrow heads made from bone and stone, and dishes and cutlery all carved from wood.

The tradition of whaling would continue uninterrupted as well. Without any rules about whaling the Makah could continue the sacred tradition as they saw fit.

As the years went by after contact was made the Makah tribe occupied less and less land. Today their reservation is about 1/5 of what they used to inhabit.

Works Cited:

Text book: Handbook of North American Indians, William C. Sturtevant, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, 1990


5 thoughts on “Before the Europeans came…

  1. This class has already really showed me how diverse the groups in Washington were. They had their similarities but enough differences to make things interesting. The Makah are a group I know very little about but have fascinated me from the couple of blogs I have read on them in this class. I’ll be sure to keep up on your blog to find out more about them.


  2. Hey! I think your post was great. When you were talking about the gender roles back then, it amazes me how much has changed! I am really interested in the Makah tribe now, and am looking forward to more posts!


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