The Kwakiutl area was great for fishing due to the deep, cold, and murky waters. They most likely traveled short distances for hunting on dry land. They hunted black bears, grizzly bears, and wolves with a bow and arrow. But the tribe greatly depended on fish for their survival. They had an abundance of fish and other sea foods such as porposes, sealas, sea lions, sea otters, whales, sea birds, and other sea creatures. They ate clams, muscles, oysters, limpets, aldone, crabs, octopus, squid, and sea urchins. Some of the meals that were considered more delicious were eggs from sea gulls and puffins. Their most important food, however, were the five species of Pacific Salmon. More fish that were important were eulachon {oo-la-ken] which was also called the candlefish (thisis because the fat content was very high, so high that if a whick were placed in the mouth of one and lit, it would burn like a candle), herring smelt, cod, rockfish, halinat, eel, sturgeon, dogfish, and many others. The oil of eulachon was used for many Kwakiutl meals. They would serve this oil in small bowls and dip other food into it.


Their summer villages were built along the coast or near lakes and rivers with a large supply of fish. The villages contained small wooden cabins for temporary use. These cabins were long, rectangular, and usually had a long, sloping roof or a flat roof. Their winter villages were built in sheltered locations that held protection from high winter tides and large storms from the Pacific Ocean. These villages contained large houses that were sometimes elevated on stilts to escape the high tides. However, they all had doorways facing the beach. In steeper areas, platforms were constructed to support the homes, and boardwalks were layed around the entire village and in front of houses. The winter homes were first made by frames. Building these frames took a lot of cooperation from many tribal members. The houses wer about 10 feet wide, 100 feet long, and 20 feet tall. Three posts were put in front of homes, three poles in the center, and three poles in the back. Heavy horizontal beams ran across the axis of the home. There were some smaller beams that ran perpendicular to the heavier beams. The walls and roofs were intentionally seperate and would be removed to allow light and fresh air.


The Kwakiutl used their floor mats for clothes as well as for preventing dirt from entering their house. During the cold, wet weather, warm and water resistant clothing was in need. The most common clothing they wore was a garment like a cedar bark cape, cloak, or blanket. They would have to wrap this bark around themselves. They usually pinned or tied them shut, but they would also weave it together with the wool of a mountain goat. They would also raise wooly dogs to sacrifice for warmer clothing. To increase water resistance, they would rub the clothing in fish oil. The Kwakiutl wore less clothes during the summer. Men and boys wore beachcloth or nothing at all and women typically just wore a short skirt. For ceremonial purposes, they would wear fancy moccosins, but majority of the time they just walked around barefoot.

Traditions, Beliefs, and Ceremonial Masks

The long nose of a fool dancer's mask represents the supernaturals with super long noses, and were thought to bless the fool dancers with their powers. This mask was worn for the Cannibalism Ceremonies. There are also ceremonial masks that represent cannibalism. Some of the masks were able to form into different masks, such as ravens and other birds. Some masks had strings that could be pulled to make certain parts of the mask move. While some masks were tall and short (width-wise), others were long and short (length-wise). The Kwakiutl believed that every winter spirits came to earth, walked along with humans, and then passed on their powers to a young man or woman. Afterwards, members of a secret society imitated the spirits. This was called the Winter Ceremonials. There were dancers and performers cherished and acted out what was believed to guarentee the tribe's spiritual renewal. Performers used magic, trickery, and effects to entertain the tribal members. The actors would die in a viscious and bloody fashion and then be brought back to life.
Statues and objects could talk during the ceremonies and magical objects would fly from one place to another and would mysteriously disappear. There were many ceremonial props to help them present these ceremonies. They mostly used masks as their props but there were sometimes other objects. A ceremonial bowl was used. It was shaped like a spoon and had a handle shaped like a face. This was the face of Dsonokwa. Dsonokwa was a giant female monster that was said to wander the woods and kidnap then eat children. However, she would also give great wealth to some people. People gifted with the power of the Cannibal-at-the-North-End-of-the-World exhibited wild behavior. The members of the Cannibal Society sought to contain the Cannibal spirit during the Winter Ceremonies. Rattles in the shape of human skulls were made with the assistance of the Cannibal Society. This act was believed to calm the spirit. Ther was a mask representing the assistance of the Cannibal-at-the-North-End-of-the-World. Ho'xuhok, a crane-like creature, and two ravens. On this mask, the beaks of the birds were designed to move and clack to the beat of the dancer that was wearing it. One mask, a simple raven dramatically opened to reveal the face of another human. This was called the Colored Raven of the Sea. It caused the Cannibal Society to become wild at the sight of it. This was the reason that it was associated with the Cannibal-at-the-North-End-of-the-World. There was a mask representing Sisuitl, an assistant of a female warrior named Tooquid. Sisiutl looked like a snake what with having serpents' heads at both ends of her body and a human's head in the center of her body. Another object was a feast bowl that oddly looked like a two-headed wolf. Each wolf held a Copper in its teeth. The Copper was very important to the Kwakiutl tribe. It was the most important of all ceremonial objects. There was also an oddly shaped masked that held two octopus heads, one on top of the other. The wearer would use strings that were invisible in the dark and would make the tenticles and the mouth of the smaller head move. The final ceremonial objects were the wooden puppets. The wooden puppet was described as a ghost dancer and two children. These puppets were thought to bring the dead back to life and were associated with Tooquid. The puppets were manipulated during the dance to symbolize her multiworld powers.

Nez Perce


The Nez Perce hunted, gathered berries, and fished. They hunted large game such as deer, elk, moose, bear (grizzly bear, black bear, brown bear), mountain sheep, bison, and even antelope. They hunted birds like duck, geese, and sage hens. When the Nez Perce fished, they fished for salmon.


The Nez Perce lived in small villages along streams and rivers. Their houses were tule-mat covered long houses. Since the Nez Perce were nomadic they camped and traveled with tipis.
small villages around streams and rivers


The Nez Perce men wore clothing made out of buckskins. They wore leggings, shirts, belts, moccasins and occasionally gloves. The women wore long belted buckskin dresses, normally knee length, paired with moccasins. They also adorned basketry hats.


The Nez Perce people wanted horses. They used the horses for hunting and basic travel. The main reason they wanted the horses though is war. They considered horses not tools, but warriors. The horses allowed they to trade with neighboring tribes. The Nez Perce horse was a cross breed between Appaloosa and a Central Asian breed called Akhal-Teke. Horses.jpg