Utilizing the Environment

The Makah territory changes drastically throughout the seasons. In the winter the tribe would experience wild storms and never ending rain, while the summers remained pleasant and mild. These lands were a perfect home for many land and sea mammals, birds, and freshwater, saltwater, and anadromous fish. The Makah territory contained several small streams that ran with coho, chum salmon, steelhead, chinook salmon, and halibut.cedar-tree

The environment also supported a large amount of flora as well with technological, medicinal, and nutritional value. I wasn’t able to find much information into specific medicines unfortunately but I’ll keep looking..

One thing I found particularly interesting was that because of the abundance of food in the Northwest, these people did not need to gather their own food specifically for themselves. People could trade specialized tasks and goods for food to eat, this is a culture that developed far before white influence.


By far the most important environmental resource the Makah tribe used was definitely the Cedar. The cedar provided wood and bark for virtually everything in the lives of the Makah people. They used the wood to build canoes, houses, hunting shacks, boxes, cots, and more. The bark was used to make all sorts of clothing, baskets, hats, pouches, mats, and various house hold items. In later years after the European involvement the Makah were also able to make somewhat of a living off of the timber gathered from the trees.

Other vegetation was utilized by the Makah tribe but was definitely less important. The area that the Makah natives occupied was rich in berry bushes. They would pick salmonberries, blackberries, thimbleberries, huckleberries, and occasionally cranberries. There were also a few plant species that would sprout in the spring and used for food.

A lot of the plant food that is native to the Makah land is no longer utilized. They also do not attempt to utilize the berry population commercially.

Again it is mentioned that the Makah people did pick plants for medicines, however, there is still no reference to what specific plants were used.

Works Cited:

Handbook of North American Indians Volume 7 Northwest Coast, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, 1990

The Makah Tribe: People of the Sea and the Forest, Essay by Ann M. Renker, Ph.D, University of Washington

The Makah Indians: A study of an indian tribe in modern American society, Elizabeth Colson, University of Minnesota, 1953

Photo of cedar: https://kihm2.files.wordpress.com/2007/12/cedar-tree.jpg


5 thoughts on “Utilizing the Environment

  1. This was a good post, easy to read and to the point. I enjoy reading the similar ways of the respect of the land. The trading between the tribes even before the European’s landed here.


  2. Hi Alexa! Your post was really easy to read and understand. It’s crazy how there was an abundance of food, so they didn’t need to gather their food themselves. Great post!


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