Makah and Nez Perce Native American Tribes

There are usually three basic needs of any human or animal: shelter, food, and adequate clothing (or a source of heat). These three very important factors involved with staying alive were exactly what was needed by the Makah and Nez Perce Native American tribes. Of course, like anybody, they had wants and desires that were even more difficult to meet than their three basic needs.


A Makah Chief

Makah Introduction

The word Makah means “The people who live by the rocks and the seagulls.” In In their language, Qwiqwidicciat, their name is q^Iq^IdiDDAtX (sounds like KWEE KWEE dich chut(gh)--the gh sound is like you are clearing the back of your throat.).
When the settlers came, they made the Makah Indians become more like them, requiring them to go to school, wear different clothing, and eat different food, and changing much of their culture. Although some culture was lost, there is still much more left. They needed the same things like food, shelter and clothing. They had wants like transportation. Although we all have similar wants, there are many different ways of acquiring them. The Makah Indians were located on the Olympic Peninsula.

Makah Needs

Makah's Food

The Makah Indians were a very big fishing group. They grew very little, because the weather in what is now Neah Bay is not the best conditions, being to wet and moist. Although the Makah Indians could not grow very much, they were exceptional hunters. They used canoes to hunt marine animals, such as seals and whales. Hunters used paddles with pointed ends, so that dripping water would not alert their prey of their presence. With two skilled hunters in a canoe, they could easily fit ten gutted seals on one canoe. The Makah Indians also ate food like shellfish, halibut, salmon, octopus, gooseneck barnacles, chitins, and sea urchins. One of the few things they were able to grow they call baGaX. It is like horsetail.

Makah's Shelter

The Makah Indians met their need for shelter by building a longhouse. They used cedar planks tied to poles to hold up the sides, and large rocks held up the roof. The planks on the roof could be removed to create an opening for smoke to exit through when they used fires in for warmth. There was room for 20 families in one longhouse.

Makah's Clothing

clothes.jpgThe Makah people wore clothes made out of cedar back, which was pounded and woven. Some clothes had dog hair woven into it as well. Wealthier tribal members had fur linings in their clothes. With the cedar bark, the made things like hats, capes, and skirts. For special events, they would decorate their clothes with shells such as the olivella shell and the dentalia shell.

Makah Wants


A want of the Makah People was transportation. So, they built canoes out of cedar trees. They hollowed out a cedar log, and flared the sides by pouring in hot water and fire-heated rocks. Or, they made a frame of wood and wove together cedar strips. The more traditional way would be to hollow out a long, also called a dug-out canoe.

Displaying Culture

This is a video clip showing the traditional paddle
dance of the Makah Indian tribe. Being able to
perform these dances, and have all the traditional
clothing was another very desirable want of the

Nez Perce

Chief Joseph

Nez Perce Introduction

The Nez Perce (pronounced něz' pûrs') tribe, literally meaning “people of pierced noses,” is a very interesting tribe. They were a nomadic tribe that moved throughout Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. The Nez Perce Tribe worked extremely hard to obtain the basic needs that kept them alive. Along with that, they also had to work hard to obtain their wants. Their many beliefs and great culture has impacted how these needs and wants were aquired.

Nez Perce Needs

Nez Perce's Food

One of the Nez Perce's basic needs was food. Hunting buffalo was one way of meeting this need. To do this they had to follow the buffalo, making them a nomadic tribe. The Nez Perce people were very skilled in spearing animals. Along with that, they also fished for Chinook Salmon. This particular fish was very abundant for them since they lived right along the Columbia River.

Nez Perce's Shelter

The Nez Perce indians met their need of shelter by making tepees. Tepees were usually 10 to sometimes 20 feet tall, and were about seven to 11 feet in diameter. It didn't take too long to build, but required may resources, especially buffalo hide, a part of one of their main food source.

Here is a video clip showing
more on the Nez Perce Tepees:

Nez Perce's Clothing

Nez_Perce_clothing_for_real.jpgAnother important need of the Nez Perce Native American tribe was to have adequate clothing. To obtain this need, there were two main things that could be done: The first way that they could meet this need was to trade for it with another indian tribe. But, that required giving up a very valuable item or sometimes items. Usually, the women and little girls would sew and weave clothing from grasses, animal hide, or most commonly cedar bark. They would use a paddle and hit the cedar until it was soft enough to be worn.

A Nez Perce Want


horse.jpgA very desirable want of the Nez Perce tribe was transportation. Instead of using canoes like the Makah tribe, they used horses. Since they were a nomadic tribe, meaning they were constantly moving, horses were a very wanted animal. The Nez Perce actually bred Appaloosa horses themselves, so the difficult part in obtaining this want was not actually getting the transportation, but keeping the horses well fed and healthy. Since finding food was sometimes hard, the horses would have to be fed after the tribe members, so they were not always given very much food. But still, they managed to keep most of them alive and have been able to easily obtain this want.


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Infromation -

This page was created by Team Banana Fingers.