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Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

January 17, 1806
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

January 17, 1806

[Lewis]

Saturday [NB: Friday] January 17th 1806

This morning we were visited by Comowool and 7 of the Clatsops our nearest neighbours, who left us again in the evening. They brought with them some roots and buries for sale, of which however they disposed of but very few as they asked for them such prices as our stock in trade would not license us in giving.    the Chief Comowool gave us some roots and buries for which we gave him in return a mockerson awl and some thread; the latter he wished for the purpose of making a skiming net. one of the party was dressed in t[h]ree very eligant Sea Otter skins which we much wanted; for these we offered him many articles but he would not dispose of them for any other consideration but blue beads, of these we had only six fathoms left, which being 4 less than his price for each skin he would not exchange nor would a knife or an equivalent in beads [1] of any other colour answer his purposes, these coarse blue beads are their f[av]orite merchandiz, and are called by them tia Commáshuck' or Chiefs beads.    the best wampum is not so much esteemed by them as the most inferior beads. Sent Coalter out to hunt this morning, he shortly after returned with a deer, venison is a rarity with us    we have had none for some weeks. Drewyer also set out on a hunting excertion and took one man [2] with him.    he intends both to hunt the Elk and trap the beaver.

The Culinary articles of the Indians in our neighbourhood consist of wooden bowls or throughs, baskets, wooden spoons and woden scures or spits. Their wooden bowls and troughs are of different forms and sizes, and most generally dug out of a solid piece; they are ither round or simi globular, in the form of a canoe, cubic, and cubic at top terminating in a globe at bottom; these are extreemly well executed and many of them neatly carved the larger vessels with hand-holes to them; in these vessels they boil their fish or flesh by means of hot stones which they immerce in the water with the article to be boiled.    they also render the oil of fish or other anamals in the same manner.    their baskets are formed of cedar bark and beargrass so closely interwoven with the fingers that they are watertight without the aid of gum or rosin; some of these are highly ornamented with strans of beargrass which they dye of several colours and interweave in a great variety of figures; this serves them the double perpose of holding their water or wearing on their heads; and are of different capacites from that of the smallest cup to five or six gallons; they are generally of a conic form or reather the segment of a cone of which the smaller end forms the base or bottom of the basket.    these they make very expediciously and dispose off for a mear trifle.    it is for the construction of these baskets that the beargrass becomes an article of traffic among the natives    this grass grows only on their high mountains near the snowey region; the blade is about ⅜ of an inch wide and 2 feet long smoth pliant and strong; the young blades which are white from not being exposed to the sun or air, are those most commonly employed, particularly in their neatest work. Their spoons are not remarkable nor abundant, they are generally large and the bole brawd.    their meat is roasted with a sharp scure, one end of which is incerted in the meat with the other is set erect in the ground.    the spit for roasting fish has it's upper extremity split, and between it's limbs the center of the fish is inscerted with it's head downwards and the tale and extremities of the scure secured with a string, the sides of the fish, which was in the first instance split on the back, are expanded by means of small splinters of wood which extend crosswise the fish.    a small mat of rushes or flags is the usual plate or dish on which their fish, flesh, roots or burries are served. they make a number of bags and baskets not watertight of cedar bark, silk-grass, rushes, flags and common coarse sedge. [3]    in these they secure their dryed fish, rooots, buries, &c.—

[Lewis]

Sunday [Friday] 17th January 1806

This morning we were visited by Comowool and 7 of the Clatsops our nearest neighbours, who left us again in the evening. They brought with them Some roots and beries for Sale, of which however they disposed of very fiew as they asked for them Such prices as our Stock in trade wouuld not licence us in giveing. The Chief Comowool gave us Some roots and berries, for which we gave him in return a mockerson awl and Some thread; the latter he wished for the purpose of makeing a Skiming Net. one of the party was dressed in three verry elegant Sea otter Skins which we much wanted; for these we offered him maney articles but he would not dispose of them for aney other Consideration but Blue beeds, of those we had only Six fathoms left, which being 4 less than his price for each Skin he would not exchange nor would a Knife or any other equivolent in beeds of aney other Colour answer his purpose; these Coarse blue beeds are their favourite merchandize and are Called by them Tia com ma shuck or Chief beeds, the best Wampom is not as much esteemed by them as the most indifferent beeds. Sent Colter out to hunt he Shortly after returned with a Deer, Venison is a rarity with us we have had none for Some weeks. Drewyer Set out on a hunting expedition one man went with him.    he intends to hunt the Elk and trap the beaver.

The Culianary articles of the Indians in our neighbourhood Consists of wooden bowls or troughs, Baskets, Shell and wooden Spoons and wooden Scures or Spits, their wooden Bowles and troughs are of different forms and Sizes, and most generally dug out of Solid piecies; they are either round, Square or in the form of a canoe; those are extreemly well executed and maney of them neetly covered, the larger vessels with handholes to them; in these vessels they boil their fish or flesh by means of hot Stones which they immerce in the water with the articles to be boiled. They also render the oil of the fish, or other animals in the Same manner. Their baskets are formed of Cedar bark and bargrass So closely interwoven withe hands or fingers that they are watertight without the aid of gum or rozin; Some of those are highly ornimented with the Strans of bargrass which they dye of Several Colours and interweave in a great variety of figures; this Serves a double purpose of holding the Water or wareing on their heads; and are of different Capacities, from that of a Smallest Cup to five or Six gallons, they are generally of a Conic form or reather the Segment of a Cone of which the Smaller end forms the base or bottom of the basket.    these they make verry expediciously and dispose of for a mear trifle.    it is for the Construction of those baskets that Bargrass becoms an article of traffic among the nativs of the Columbia.    this grass grows only on their mountains near the Snowey region; the blade is aout ⅜ of an inch wide and 2 feet long Smothe plient & Strong; the young blades which are white from not being exposed to the Sun or air, are those which are most Commonly employ'd, particularly in their neatest work. Their wooden Spoons are not remarkable nor abundant, they are large & the bowls broad.    their meat is roasted with a Sharp Scure, one end of which is incerted in the meat while the other is Set erect in the ground. The Spit for roasting fish is incerted with its head downwards, and the tale and the extremities of the Scure Secured with a String, the Side of the fish, which was in the first instance Split in the back, are expanded by means of Small Splinters of wood which extend Crosswise the fish. a Small mat of rushes or flags is the usual [4] plate, or Dish on which their fish, flesh, roots & berries are Served. they make a number of Bags and Baskets not water tight of Cedar bark Silk Grass, rushes, flags, and common Corse Sedge—.    in those they Secure their dried fish, root berries &c.— [5]

[Ordway]

Friday 17th Jany. 1806.    three men went out a hunting    a number of the natives [6] came to the fort.    about noon one of the hunters [7] came in with a Deer which he had killed.—

[Whitehouse]

Friday Janry 17th    It continued stormey all last night, and this morning Wet & rainey.    Three of our Men went out a hunting.    A number of Indians [8] came to the Fort.    About noon one of the hunters returned to Camp with a Deer, which he had killed

1. Someone has drawn an "x" across a couple of lines about here. (back)
3. Silk grass is probably one of the taller species of dogbane, Indian hemp, Apocynum sp., which has long, silky fibers in the outer bark that was extensively used for cordage. The enumeration of all the important textile plants as given here, including the coarse sedge, Carex sp., is an important source for ethnobotanical studies. Notably, the fibers from nettles, extensively used by Indians of the region, was not recorded. See Ruby & Brown (CITC), 15, for a review of textiles, fibers, and basket materials in use by the Lower Chinooks, but without botanical names. Hitchcock et al., 4:78–82; Gunther (EWW), 28; Cutright (LCPN), 267–68, 267 n. 25. (back)
4. "Usual" is substituted for another, crossed-out word, which is illegible. (back)
5. About the remaining one-quarter of this page is blank. (back)
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Summary | 2 Annotations
their baskets are formed of cedar bark and beargrass so closely interwoven with the fingers that they are watertight without the aid of gum or rosin
2020/08/12 02:24
one of the party was dressed in t[h]ree very eligant Sea Otter skins which we much wanted; for these we offered him many articles but he would not dispose of them for any other consideration but blue beads
2020/08/12 02:25