The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Clark, January 17, 1806
Clark, January 17, 1806
Sunday 17th January 1806
This morning we were visited by Comowool and 7 of the Clatsops our nearest neighbours, who left us again in the evening. They brought with them Some roots and beries for Sale, of which however they disposed of very fiew as they asked for them Such prices as our Stock in trade would not licence us in giveing. The Chief Comowool gave us Some roots and berries, for which we gave him in return a mockerson awl and Some thread; the latter he wished for the purpose of makeing a Skiming Net. one of the party was dressed in three verry elegant Sea otter Skins which we much wanted; for these we offered him maney articles but he would not dispose of them for aney other Consideration but Blue beeds, of those we had only Six fathoms left, which being 4 less than his price for each Skin he would not exchange nor would a Knife or any other equivolent in beeds of aney other Colour answer his purpose; these Coarse blue beeds are their favourite merchandize and are Called by them Tia com ma shuck or Chief beeds, the best Wampom is not as much esteemed by them as the most indifferent beeds. Sent Colter out to hunt he Shortly after returned with a Deer, Venison is a rarity with us we have had none for Some weeks. Drewyer Set out on a hunting expedition one man went with him. he intends to hunt the Elk and trap the beaver.
The Culianary articles of the Indians in our neighbourhood Consists of wooden bowls or troughs, Baskets, Shell and wooden Spoons and wooden Scures or Spits, their wooden Bowles and troughs are of different forms and Sizes, and most generally dug out of Solid piecies; they are either round, Square or in the form of a canoe; those are extreemly well executed and maney of them neetly covered, the larger vessels with handholes to them; in these vessels they boil their fish or flesh by means of hot Stones which they immerce in the water with the articles to be boiled. They also render the Oil of the fish, or other animals in the Same manner. Their baskets are formed of Cedar bark and bargrass So closely interwoven withe hands or fingers that they are watertight without the aid of gum or rozin; Some of those are highly ornimented with the Straps of bargrass which they dye of Several Colours and interweave in a great variety of figures; this Serves a double purpose of holding the Water or wareing on their heads; and are of different Capacities, from that of a Smallest Cup to five or Six gallons, they are generally of a Conic form or reather the Segment of a Cone of which the Smaller end forms the base or bottom of the basket. these they make verry expediciously and dispose of for a mear trifle. it is for the Construction of those baskets that Bargrass becoms an article of traffic among the nativs of the Columbia. this grass grows only on their mountains near the Snowey region; the blade is about 3/8 of an inch wide and 2 feet long Smothe plient & Strong; the young blades which are white from not being exposed to the Sun or air, are those which are most Commonly employ'd, particularly in their neatest work. Their wooden Spoons are not remarkable nor abundant, they are large & the bowls broad. their meat is roasted with a Sharp Scure, one end of which is incerted in the meat while the other is Set erect in the ground. The Spit for roasting fish has its upper extremity Split, and between its limbs the Center of the fish is incerted with its head downwards, and the tale and the extremities of the Scure Secured with a String, the Side of the fish, which was in the first instance Split in the back, are expanded by means of Small Splinters of wood which extend Crosswise the fish. a Small mat of rushes or flags is the usual plate, or Dish on which their fish, flesh, roots & berries are Served. they make a number of Bags and Baskets not water tight of Cedar bark Silk Grass, rushes, flags, and common Gorse Sedge-. in those they Secure their dried fish, roots berries &.-