“They are still here. By the time Lewis and Clark arrived at the mouth
of the Columbia River, the tribes in his area were experiencing the traumatic
effects of contact with non-Indian people. Their populations were decimated
by smallpox, typhoid, influenza, measles, and other diseases brought to the
area by Euro-American maritime traders and explorers. Thousands of Native
Americans along the Columbia River and Pacific Coast died as a result.
“As early settlers arrived in the region, the tribes were pushed out of their
homelands. They were forced to learn new languages and much of their
traditional ways of life were lost. Tribes that could no longer sustain a
government scattered, and many enrolled in confederated tribes in the area
after treaties were signed with the United States government. But they have
“Today, these proud people work to recover their traditions and languages. The
Columbia Pacific area is home to three tribes in Oregon and Washington States:
the Chinook Nation, Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe, and the Clatsop Nehalem
Confederated Tribes. There are also ten tribes associated with this area
through historic trade routes and alliances, and many Chinook and Clatsop
found new homes within these tribes.
“The associated tribes include: Cowlitz Indian Tribe, Confederated Tribes of
Siletz Indians, Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde, Quinault, Chehalis,
Yakama Indian Nation, Wanapum Band, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla, and
Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs.”
Deborah S. Wood, Lewis and Clark National Historical Park,
Pacific Native American Guide”
National Park Service, n.d.