Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Ancient Northwest

Glaciers gouged out the river valleys of the Pacific Northwest and created the inland Salish Sea. The glaciers also created grasslands while the forests very slowly grew back. The earliest known inhabitants of the Pacific Northwest were grassland hunters of mammoth, bison, deer and elk. Post-glacial rising seas swallowed up evidence of any early inhabitants who may have lived along the shoreline before 5,000 years ago.

Ancient Pacific Northwest

Eventually Northwest tribes as we know them today developed marine based cultures along the shorelines. The inland sea was their highway and their food source. The wealth of their environment gave them the resources to develop stable centralized communities with complex art forms and sophisticated cosmologies.

Hamshamstsas Mask ~ Wood, cedar bark, baleen, red cloth, 1901