chapter  8
49 Pages

The Northwest Coast

WithAlice B. Kehoe

The Northwest Coast of America is a country of blues and greens and dark grey-browns, imposingly beautiful, rich to those who know its resources. Peoples of the Northwest boast one of the great art styles of the world, expressed in carvings whose power transcends symbols to speak to every viewer of the potent might of the living spirit. North of the Columbia, native nations can be grouped into those who live along sheltered waters of Puget Sound and those who face open ocean on Washington's west coast. Puget Sound peoples had regular contact with Plateau peoples across the Cascades to the east, buying elk and deer meat and hides with dentalium-shell money. Both regions, Puget Sound and western coast, felt the influence of the British Columbia section of the Northwest Coast, through trade, raiding, and visiting at feasts. West coast nations shared with British Columbia nations several secret societies giving public performances of dance dramas during the consecrated winter season.