Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

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Coast Salish

Coast Salish
First Nations

The Coast Salish are a group of Salishan-speaking First Nations/Native American in British Columbia and Washington.

The Coast Salish homeland stretched from the Strait of Georgia north of the Fraser River to the southern end of Puget Sound, encompassing the sites of the modern-day cities of Vancouver, British Columbia and Seattle, Washington. A branch of the Coast Salish, including the Tillamook and related tribes, established themselves on the coast of Oregon south of the Chinookan peoples at the mouth of the Columbia River. Archeological evidence indicates that the Coast Salish may have inhabited the area as far back as 9000 B.C.

Villages of the Coast Salish typically consisted of redcedar-planked and earthen-floor longhouses providing habitation for forty or more people, usually related. The villages were typically located near navigable water for easy transportation by dugout canoe. Houses that were part of the same village sometimes stretched for several miles along a river or watercourse.

The interior walls of longhouses were typically lined with sleeping platforms. Storage shelves above the platforms held baskets, tools, clothing, and other items. Firewood was stored below the platforms. Mattresses and cushions were constructed woven reed mats and animals skins. Food was hung to dry from the ceiling. The larger houses included partitions to separate families, as well as interior fires with roof slats that functioned as chimneys.

The staple of their diet was salmon.

The art of the Coast Salish has become a popular idiom for modern art in British Columbia and the Puget Sound area.