TRIBES

Chinook (Tsinúk)
LOCATION: The Chinook (Tsinúk) Tribe have always resided in the lower Columbian River region of the Pacific Northwest coast, (modern day Oregon and Washington states) and continue to this day.
POPULATION: Rough estimates show that there were more than 20,000 Chinook tribal members in the 18th Century. This figure rapidly declined in the 19th Century due to disease but early 21st Century population estimates 1,500 Chinook descendants.
LANGUAGE: The Chinook tribe originally spoke their native Chinookan languages; however this is no longer spoken today. Chinook Jargon emerged due to contact with traders, combining words and sounds from Chinook, Nootka and English as well as other languages.
DESCRIPTION:

The Chinook tribe are best known for their skill as traders. Occupying the mouth of the Columbian River to the Dalles, the tribe would trade with other tribes on the Northwest Coast, British and American traders, as well as networking south to California and east to the Great Plains. Chinook men were predominately fishermen and hunters that used harpoons and nets to catch mainly salmon during the spring run. Travel was accessible by large dugout canoes made by hollowing out cedar or fir logs.

The tribe lived on high land above the rivers in coastal villages and in large, rectangular cedar-plank houses with bark roofs. Skilled tribeswomen were known for making bear-grass baskets and woodcarvings. Today members of the Chinook tribe live on reservations in Oregon and Washingston states.

Two members of the Chinook tribe assisted Julius Brenchley’s travel across North America and descend the Columbian River by allowing him to travel in their canoe.