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On this day in Lewis & Clark history...

Clatsop Chief Coboway makes a trading visit to Fort Clatsop near Astoria, Oregon. He asks for 10 fathoms of blue beads for 3 sea otter skins. The Captains write about Chinook baskets, mats, and cooking utensils.

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;

Meriwether Lewis

Beargrass basket

Small basket with a Chinook canoe drawn on the side. The basket is holding denalium shells

Photo courtesy of Nez Perce National Historical Park, NEPE 1784.

These coarse blue beads are their favourite merchandiz, and are called by them tia Commáshuck' or Chiefs beads.
The Culinary articles of the Indians in our neighborhood consist of wooden bowls or throughs, baskets, wooden spoons and woden scures or spits.

William Clark

Trade beads

Blue trade beads

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

Meriwether Lewis

Wooden spoon

Hand carved wooden spoon

a small mat of rushes or flags is the usual plate or dish on which their fish, flesh, roots or burries are served.

Meriwether Lewis

Chinook cedar bark mat

Woven mat with dark and light colored strands of bark

it is for the construction of 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 3/8 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.

Meriwether Lewis

Beargrass, Xerophyllum tenax

Bear grass in spring

they make a number of bags and baskets not watertight of cedar bark, silk-grass, rushes, flags and common coarse sedge. in these they secure their dryed fish, rooots, buries, &c.—

Meriwether Lewis

Cedar bark basket

Oblong basket made from wide strips of cedar bark

Photo courtesy of Nez Perce National Historical Park, NEPE 143.