Crossing the Indian Country, 1804 1806
 
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Life at Fort Clatsop

The tensions at Fort Clatsop had many sources, the most important of which was the Corps of Discovery’s lack of knowledge about the communities clustered along the Columbia and its tributaries. By 1805, people such as the Corps’ Clatsop neighbors were regularly exchanging guns, iron pots and other metal goods for sea otter pelts destined for sale in China. They were not particularly impressed by the hungry Americans or their meager supply of trade goods.

Most Americans had little understanding of this area’s cultural traditions until San Francisco merchant Hubert Howe Bancroft’s “Native Races of the Pacific States” provided this graphic overview of the region.

Hubert Howe Bancroft. “Native Races of the Pacific States, Columbia Group,” in The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft, The Native Races, 1883.

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