The Indian Country, 1800: A Brilliant Plan for Living
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The Camas Plant

The root of the camas plant (Camassia quamash) was an important food source for Native communities in the Columbia River region.

Women from the mountainous Nez Perce country to the Pacific coast would visit well-known root beds to dig at different seasons of the year.

Using a digging stick, they would harvest the largest roots and replant the rest. The camas along with wild onions or berries would then be baked into a type of bread, or cooked into a mush.

Field of Camas, 2002.

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Photo: K. Lugthart