Crossing the Indian Country, 1804 1806
What was Known? 1804 Mandan Winter Salish Rescue Nez Perce Refuge Chinook Country Columbia River Two Dead Blackfeet New Indian Experts


Friendships on the Columbia River

"They Said They Would Dance Day and Night Until Our Return.”
(John Ordway, April 28, 1806)

In late March 1806, Captains Lewis and Clark, eager to begin their journey home, abandoned their coastal encampment. They were so eager, in fact, that they stole a canoe from nearby Chinook Indians rather than pay the price demanded. The Americans also pressed the bounds of hospitality by begging for food as they traveled up the Columbia River. (They continued to prefer dog meat to salmon.)

By April 27 the Corps had passed Celilo Falls and reached the upper edge of the coastal and Columbia River trading networks. There they met Walula, Yakama, Cayuse, and Umatilla communities that had been prevented by the Chinooks from participating in trade networks along the coast. They were eager for the Americans’ friendship as well as the power of their weapons.