The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, January 19, 1806
Lewis, January 19, 1806
Monday January 19th 1806. This morning sent out two parties of hunters, consisting of Collins and Willard whom we sent down the bay towards point Adams, and Labuish and Shannon whom we sent up Fort River; the fist by land and the latter by water. we were visited today by two Clatsop men and a woman who brought for sale some Sea Otter skins of which we purchased one, giving in exchange the remainder of our blue beads consisting of 6 fathoms and about the same quantity of small white beads and a knife. we also purchased a small quantity of train oil for a pair of Brass armbands and a hat for some fishinghooks. these hats are of their own manufactory and are composed of Cedar bark and bear grass interwoven with the fingers and ornimented with various colours and figures, they are nearly waterproof, light, and I am convinced are much more durable than either chip or straw. These hats form a small article of traffic with the Clatsops and Chinnooks who dispose of them to the whites. the form of the hat is that which was in vogue in the Ued States and great Britain in the years 1800 & 1801 with a high crown reather larger at the top than where it joins the brim; the brim narrow or about 2 or 21/2 inches.
Several families of these people usually reside together in the same room; they appear to be the father & mother and their sons with their son's wives and children; their provision seems to be in common and the greatest harmoney appears to exist among them. The old man is not always rispected as the head of the family, that duty most commonly devolves on one of the young men. They have seldom more than one wife, yet the plurality of wives is not denyed them by their customs. These families when ascociated form nations or bands of nations each acknoledging the authority of it's own chieftain who dose not appear to be heriditary, nor his power to extend further than a mear repremand for any improper act of an individual; the creation of a chief depends upon the upright deportment of the individual & his ability and disposition to render service to the community; and his authority or the deference paid him is in exact equilibrio with the popularity or voluntary esteem he has acquired among the individuals of his band or nation. Their laws like those of all uncivilized Indians consist of a set of customs which have grown out of their local situations. not being able to speak their language we have not been able to inform ourselves of the existence of any peculiar customs among them.