The Chinook's are an Indian tribe that derives from the Pacific Northwest coast in Washington State that migrated mostly towards the Columbia River. They reside on reservations located in various counties among Washington, and were first encountered by Lewis and Clarke on their expedition to America in 1805.


Include a chronology of at least 15 dates and descriptions of important events in the tribe's history. At least 5 must be prior to European contact.


The Chinook Indians reside as far north as Alaska and as south as Southern California, crossing through west Canada and most of Washington, Idaho and Oregon.


In present day, the Chinook Indians mostly speak English. However, some elders speak a second language know as Chinook Jargon from the Northwest Coast that would combine sounds from the Chinook, Nootka, and English languages.

Social Organization and Government

Discuss how tribal society was organized.
Describe how tribal society was governed.
Analyze the social implications of the tribe's method of government.


In warmer temperatures, men would usually not wear any clothing at all, except for maybe a breechcloth which was made from deer skin, cloth, or animal fur while women would often wore skirts made of cedar bark or long grasses. In the rain and colder weather, the Chinooks wore rush capes, fur robes and moccasins.
After European contact, the Chinooks started wearing blanket robes.

Describe what, if any, change occurred to their mode of dress following European contact.

Diet and Food Sources

Describe the tribe's diet and food sources.
Discuss food preservation and management.


Describe the forms of shelter used by the tribe. This will necessarily involve discussion of social organization.
Include a visual.


Consider the tribe's transportation methods before 1500 and then again following European contact.

Tools and Weapons

Describe the tools created.
Compare the tools created by Native Americans to tools created elsewhere in the world (Europe and China) at the same time.

Economic Activities and Trade

Describe how the tribe created goods and acquired wealth (money and materials).
Through an economic lens, analyze how the tribe interacted with other tribes and with Europeans.
Analyze the economic nature of any social traditions that involve gifting.

Religious Beliefs

Identify the beliefs of the tribe, comparing and contrasting with neighboring tribes.
Include a creation story, if possible.

Recreation and Games

Include examples of games. If a game is sufficiently complex that you cannot describe it in words, create a graphic to explain it.

Works Cited

Social Organization and Government

Originally, the Chinook people lived in more than 30 villages. Each village had a hereditary chief, but through the deployment of the proper alliances and methods a chief could exercise his authority over a wider area. The chief arbitrated quarrels, supervised subsistence activities, and provided for his village in time of need. His privileges included taking food, goods, or women at will. The chief was assisted by an orator who spoke directly to the lower-ranked people. All life-cycle events, at least among high-status families as well as those of chiefly succession, were marked by wealth display, gift giving, feasting, singing, and dancing.


Chinook men rarely wore clothing beyond a breechcloth, while the women wore bark or cedar grass skirts. They protected themselves from the rain with capes made out of tulle rush, a grass like plant in the region. During cold weather, they wore fur robes and moccasins to stay warm. Both genders wore basket hats woven from spruce roots.

Diet and Food Sources

For food, Chinooks traditionally lived on fish and wild game, often smoked or dried, supplemented by root vegetables and berries. They also roasted their fare over an open fire and steamed shellfish in wooden containers or covered baskets.


Chinook villages were made up of rows of long wooden houses. The houses were large and made of wooden planks. They had painted walls and carved posts. However, Chinook houses had no windows. They were called pit houses. Each house was built over a hole dug in the earth. Some of the rooms were underground.