Pacific Coast line
The Northwest Indian has known the land for
many centuries. Long before the Europeans came to the Pacific Northwest Indians were
living and thriving in this thick, luscious rain forest. Their territory spanned from
Washington state all the way up to Alaska. They spoke fifteen different languages, grouped
into five basic styles. Every region had its own traditions and distinct identity.
Early in the eighteenth century Europeans first appeared.
This area had been the last to be reached by explorers and settlers. Fur traders, the
British Navy, and settlers were attracted to this area for its rich timber and wildlife,
and it was quickly settled. By the end of the eighteenth century the influence of the
European Americans was here to stay. Even though the Native Americans were innovative and
creative they could not withstand the invasion of these white people. Many died of
diseases and even more died of starvation and exposure to the weather when they were
forced off their land and into reservations. Slowly the Indians were incorporated
into society and forced into the white man's way of life.
The Northwest Indians to this day strive to keep a hold of
their past. They hold historic ceremonies, dedicate museums to their society, and even
open schools to teach the old way of life to keep the spirit of their ancestors alive.