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Native North American Nations on the Pacific Coast

A descendant of Mohawk Nation and trained in anthropology, Patty has researched and reported on indigenous peoples for over four decades.


Indigenous Gateway

The Pacific Northwest of Canada and USA is the Native North American Gateway. According to DNA, cultural, and language evidence, the original northern Asians and far-northern Europeans who migrated across the Bering Straits into North America became our Native North Americans, including Canadian First Nations.

Native North American Gateway

Alaskan Cedar Pole

Alaskan Cedar Pole

The Pacific Northwest is Full of Native Life

The earliest Native North Americans in what became the United States likely split from the First Nations groups that spread out across Canada from British Columbia and the Arctic, traveling across the continent to the Maritime Provinces.

Many of these groups migrated southward initially to what became the states of Washington, Oregon, and California. The tradition of carved cedar poles, masks, and other items went with them.

Of the three Pacific Coast states, California is home to the largest number of Native American tribes/nations and bands (hunting groups) along the US Pacific Coast.

The indigenous peoples of Washington and Oregon demonstrate more resemblance to the First Nations members that reside in the Canadian Pacific Northwest than to the nations living in California. The California groups have taken on a different type and flavor of culture and tradition.

Salish men in Washington.

Salish men in Washington.

Washington Native Americans

Washington State Indigenous Nations and Bands

  • Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians
  • Chehalis Community Council PO Box 536, Oakville, 98568
  • Chinook Tribe
  • Colville Business Council PO Box 150, Nespelem, 99155
  • Cowlitz Tribe
  • Duwamish Tribal Office 140 Rainier Ave S, Ste 7, Renton, 98005
  • Hoh Tribe 2464 Lower Hoh Rd, Forks, 98331
  • Jamestown S'Klallam Tribal Council
  • Kalispel Business Committee 1981 LeClerc Rd N, PO Box 39, Usk, 99180
  • Lower Elwha Community Council 2851 Lower Elwha Rd, Port Angeles, 98363
  • Lummi Business Council 2616 Kwina Rd, Bellingham, 98226-9298
  • Makah Tribal Council - People Of the Cape
  • Muckleshoot Tribal Council 39015 172nd St SE, Auburn, 98002
  • Nisqually Indian Community Council 4820 She-Nah-Num Dr SE, Olympia, 98503
  • Nooksack Tribal Council PO Box 157, Deming, 98244
  • Port Gamble S'Klallam Community Council 31912 Little Boston Rd NE, Kingston, 98346
  • Puyallup Tribal Council 2002 E 28th St, Tacoma, 98404
  • Quileute Tribal Council\ PO Box 279, LaPush, 98350
  • Quinault Business Committee PO Box 189, Taholah, 98587
  • Samish Tribal Council 803 31st Ave, PO Box 217, Anacortes, 98221
  • Sauk-Suiattle Tribal Council
  • Shoalwater Bay Tribal Council PO Box 130, Tokeland, 98590
  • Skokomish Tribal Council N 80 Tribal Center Rd, Shelton, 98584
  • Snohomish Tribal Office 18933 59th Ave N, Rm 115, Arlington, 98223
  • Snoqualmie Tribal Office 3946 Tolt Ave, PO Box 280, Carnation, 98104
  • Squaxin Island Tribal Council SE 70 Squaxin Ln, Shelton, 98584
  • Steilacoom Tribe 1515 Lafayette St, PO Box 88419, Steilacoom, 98388
  • Stillaguamish Board of Directors 2439 Stoluckquamish Ln, Arlington, 98223
  • Suquamish Tribal Council
  • Swinomish Indian Senate PO Box 817, LaConner, 98257
  • Tulalip Board of Directors 6700 Totem Beach Rd, Marysville, 98271
  • Upper Skagit Tribal Council 2284 Community Plaza, Sedro Woolley, 98284
  • Makah Tribe - In March 2015, a government study opened the way for these people who live off the coast of Washington to hunt the gray whale in restricted numbers. This whale was removed from the official list of endangered species in 1994. The new hunt restored the whale-based economy and preserved part of the culture of the Makah..
  • Yakima Tribal Council PO Box 151, Toppenish, 98948

Highlight on the Makah: "People of the Sea and Forest"

The beautiful Neah Bay of Washington has been the home of the Makah Tribe for thousands of years and their economy is based on the Gray Whale.

The Whale Economy

The resilient Makah people have been a whale-based economy. They ate the meat and traded gray whale meat with other groups for needed items. They used the blubber for fuel oil, sinew for tools, gut for various containers, and the bones for art pieces.

The Coastal Salish

These people live along the coastline of the Northwest United States and Canada.

Coastal Salish: Salishan man named William We-ah-lup smoking salmon, Tulalip Indian Reservation, Washington, 1906

Coastal Salish: Salishan man named William We-ah-lup smoking salmon, Tulalip Indian Reservation, Washington, 1906

The Washington Coast Salish groups specifically resemble the First Nations Salish and other western indigenous groups in Canada more closely than they resemble other groups of US Pacific Northwest nations or bands.

They state in part on

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The Coast Salish people are the owners of the Salish Sea. Our ancestors have passed down the traditional teachings of songs, dances, and spiritual ceremonies that depict our identity and strengths of our peoples. Our sacred trust has been given to us from our ancestors and defines our role as protectors of our Mother Earth. We are entrusted with the protection and sustainability of environment and natural resources of our ancestral lands and waters of the Salish Sea.

Oregon Native Americans

Oregon is home to at least ten umbrella groups of several Native North American nations or tribes.

Southern Oregon Native American woman

Southern Oregon Native American woman

Oregon Nations and Bands

California Native Americans

The State of California is home to at least 107 different US Federally recognized Native American Nations and 95 Federal Indian Reservations.

A group of Californian Native Americans

A group of Californian Native Americans

Over 100 Native Reservations

The State of California is home to at least 107 different US Federally recognized Native American Nations and 95 Federal Indian Reservations.

The state is also home to least 40 additional indigenous groups that are seeking Federal Recognition in California as of 2020.

California is prominent in supporting its universities and colleges in studying the culture and histories of its Indigenous Peoples and encouraging preservation of languages and ways of life. Many related educational and community based programs are located in Southern California.

However, the Wintu Nation in Northern California is more directly linked to experiences and history of the California Gold Rush around Sacramento. Many of their customs are illustrated in installations at Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding, California.


  • California Center for Native Nations

    The Center is dedicated to preserving the history, culture, language, and sovereignty of Californias first nations through exemplary research. The Center also serves tribes by connecting them with the expertise found within the University of California.

The City of Davis is the host city of an annual Pow Wow.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2007 Patty Inglish MS

Comments and Additions

Yoleen Lucas from Big Island of Hawaii on January 14, 2012:

Thanks so much for publishing this! If I had to live in the days before technology, I would LOVE to have been a Native American in the Northwest, particularly Washington State. They were the best off; in fact, anytime someone accumulated too much wealth, s/he would hold a potlatch where lots of things would be given away. That is THE LIFE!

WesternHistory from California on July 13, 2011:

Very interesting stories of the various Indian Nations and tribes. Enjoyed the hub.

lol on November 09, 2009:

great info XD

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on December 06, 2007:

Thanks Wehzo. when it's goping well I feel "in the zone" to write - or annointed! :) I'm glad you stopped by.

Nathaniel Stalling Jr from Detroit, MI on December 05, 2007:

I am exceptionally impressed with your series on Native Americans. Your research and writing skills are very good.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on December 04, 2007:

I am glad you all like this series. I am learning new material as I go over my notes and add new information.

Thomson Gale pulishers has a 4-volume encyclopedia on indigenous peoples and each book is about 3-4 inches thick. However, it was published in 2003 and already more information is avaiable. :)

MrMarmalade from Sydney on December 03, 2007:

A tremendous bounty of folklore , I love it.

Zsuzsy Bee from Ontario/Canada on December 03, 2007:

Great HUB Patty!

regards Zsuzsy

gabriella05 from Oldham on December 03, 2007:

I am taking so much pleasure in reading those hubs and so much knowledge

Thank you very much

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