Chinook Literature

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The Chinook Nation consists of the westernmost Chinookan people. Our history and constitution define us as being Lower Chinook, Clatsop, Willapa, Wahkiakum and Kathlamet. We have always resided in the lower Columbia River region and always will. We are proud of our heritage and inheritance and ask you to join us in celebrating our rich history and bright future. The Chinook tribes inhabit the salmon-rich lower Columbia river area in the Northwest culture region, in what is now upper Oregon and lower Washington state. As is evident from these texts, fishing was at the center of their culture, and they were also avid traders and gamblers. A creole based on their language and several European languages, the 'Chinook Jargon (Tsinuk Wawa)', was widely used as a trade language in the Northwest. The Chinook practice the 'Potlatch'--the charateristic Northwestern ceremony in which wealth was ritually redistributed.

Chinook Creation Story

Chinook oral legend has it that the first MEN of the tribe came from the sky becuase they were the offspring of Thunderbird. The men then found and plucked women, (who were in various stages of development), from the valley floor. This was the first Chinook tribe.

Also, the rock where the first Chinook woman was plucked still exists. It has a hole all the way through it where her arms passed right through the middle of the rock. I've never seen it but have been told how to get there and where it is. Very few people know about this place (until now), and I'm not at liberty to tell of it's whereabouts.

The Chinook creation story centers in Oregon, on Saddle Mountain. That's where Thunderbird layed its eggs. Thunderbird was part man, part spirit being. An Ogress rolled five of Thunderbirds eggs down Saddle Mountain, and five men, each of different color, were born. They found their women growing in various states of development in the valley below. The chief man plucked his wife from a rock. Her arms went through the rock, as if she was hugging it. There is a rock with this feature in the Pacific Northwest. This group formed the first tribe split up as they kept moving further and further along the Columbia River.

Stories

The Chinook tribes inhabit the salmon-rich lower Columbia river area in the Northwest culture region, in what is now upper Oregon and lower Washington state. As is evident from these texts, fishing was at the center of their culture, and they were also avid traders and gamblers. A creole based on their language and several European languages, the 'Chinook Jargon', was widely used as a trade language in the Northwest. The Chinook practised the 'Potlatch'--the charateristic Northwestern ceremony in which wealth was ritually redistributed.

Chinook Legends

Chinook Legends, Myths, and Stories

Legends of Vancouver

Chinook Chiefs and Leaders


Chief Comcomly


Ilchee, daughter of Concomly


Emma Luscier

Indigenous Peoples' Literature Return to Indigenous Peoples' Literature

Compiled by: Glenn Welker
ghwelker@gmx.com

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