The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Clark, March 19, 1806
Clark, March 19, 1806
Wednesday March 19th 1806 Inds. Descd. It continued to rain and hail in Such a manner that nothing Could be done to the Canoes. a party were Sent out early after the Elk which was killed last evening, with which they returned in the Course of a fiew hours, we gave Commorwool alias Cania, a Certificate of his good conduct and the friendly intercourse which he has maintained with us dureing our residence at this place; we also gave him a list of our names &c.- The Kilamox, Clatsops, Chinnooks, Cath lah mahs Wau ki a cum and Chiltz I-resemble each other as well in their persons and Dress as in their habits and manners.- their complexion is not remarkable, being the usial Copper brown of the tribes of North America. they are low in Statue reather diminutive, and illy Shaped, possessing thick broad flat feet, thick ankles, crooked legs, wide mouths, thick lips, noses Stuk out and reather wide at the base, with black eyes and black coarse hair.
I have observed Some high acqualine noses among them but they are extreemly reare. the most remarkable trate in their physiognamy is the peculiar flatness and width of the forehead which they Artificially obtain by compressing the head between two boards while in a State of infancy, and from which it never afterwards perfectly recovers. This is a custom among all the nations, we have met with West of the Rocky Mountains. I have observed the head of maney infants, after this Singular Bandage had been dismissed, or about the age of 11 or 12 months, that were not more than two inches thick about the upper part of the forehead and reather thiner Still higher. from the top of the head to the extremity of the nose is one Streight line. this is done in order to give a greater width to the forehead, which they much admire. This process seams to be continued longer with their female than their male children, and neither appears to Suffer any pain from the opperation. it is from this peculiar form of the head that the nations East of the Rocky Mountains, call all the nations on this Side, except Aliahtans, So-so-ne, or Snake Indians by the General name of Flat Heads. I think my Self that the provalence of this custom is a Strong proof of those nations haveing originally proceeded from the Same Stock. The nations of this neighbourhood or those recpitulated above, ware their hair loosly flowing on their back and Sholders; both men and women divide it on the Center of the Crown in front and throw it back behind the ear on each Side. they are fond of Combs and use them when they Can obtain them; and even without the aid of Combs keep their in better order, than inaney nations who are in other respects much more Civilized than themselves.
The large or apparently Sweled legs particularly observable in the women, are obtained in a great measure by tying a cord tight around the leg above the ancle bone. their method of Squating or resting themselves on their hams which they Seam from habit to prefer to Setting, no doubt contributes much to this deformity of the legs by preventing free circulation of the blood. This is also the Custom of the nations above.
The dress of the men like those above on the Columbia river Consists of a Small robe, which reaches about as low as the middle of the thye and is attatched with a String across the breast and is at pleasure turned from Side to Side as they may have an occasion to disincumber the right or left arm from the robe entirely, or when they have occasion for both hands, the fixture of the robe is in front with it's corner loosly hanging over their Arms. they Sometimes wear a hat which have already been discribed (See 29th Jany.) Their Robes are made most commonly of the Skins of a Small animal which I have Supposed was the brown mungo, tho they have also a number of the Skins of the tiger Cat, Some of those of the Elk which are used principally on their war excursions, others of the Skins of Deer, panthor, Bear, and the Speckle Loon, and blankets wove with the fingers of the wool of the native Sheep. and Some of those on the Sea Coast have robes of Beaver and the Sea Otter. a mat is Sometimes temperaly thrown over the Sholders to protect them from rain. they have no other article of Cloathing whatever neither winter nor Summer, and every part except the Sholders and back is exposed to view. they are very fond of the dress of the whites, which they ware in a Similar manner when they Can obtain them, except the Shoe or mockerson which I have never Seen worn by any of them. They Call us pah-shish-e-ooks or Cloath men. The dress of the women consists of a roab, tissue, and Sometimes when the weather is uncommonly Cold, a vest. their robe is much Smaller than that of the men, never reaching lower than the waist nor extending in front Sufficiently far to cover the body. it is like that of the men confined across the breast with a String and hangs loosely over the Sholders and back. the most esteemed & valuable of those robes are made of Strips of the Skin of the Sea Otter net together with the bark of the white Cedar or Silk grass. these fish are first twisted and laid parallel with each other a little distance asunder, and then net or wove together in Such a manner that the fur appears equally on both Sides, and united between the Strands. it makes a worm and Soft covering. other robes are formed in a Similar manner of the Skins of the rackoon, beaver &c. at other times the Skins is dressed in the hair and worn without any further preperation. in this way one beaver Skin or two of the rackoon or one of the tiger Cat forms a vest and Covers the body from the Armpits to the waist, and is confined behind, and destitute of Straps over the Sholder to keep it up. when this vest is worn the breast of the woman in consealed, but without it which is almost always the case, they are exposed, and from the habit of remaining loose and unsuspended grow to great length, particularly in aged women, on many of whome I have Seen the bubby reach as low as the waist. The petticoat or tissue which occupies the waiste has been already described (See 7th Novr. 1805) formd. of the Bark of white cedar, Silk grass, flags & rushes. The women as well as the men Sometimes cover themselves from the rain by a mat worn over the Sholders. They also Cover their heads from the rain Sometimes with a common water cup or basket made of Cedar bark and bear grass.
Those people Sometimes mark themselves by punctureing and introducing a Colouring matter. Such of them as do mark themselves in this manner prefur the legs and arms on which they imprint parallel lines of dots either longitudinally or circularly. the woman more frequently than the men mark themselves in this manner. The favorite orniments of both Sexes are the Common coarse blue and white beads as before discribed of the Chinnooks. Those beads the men wear tightly wound around their wrists and Ankles maney times untill they obtain the width of three or four inches. they also wear them in large rolls loosly around the neck, or pendulous from the cartelage of the nose or rims of the ears which are purfarated in different places round the extremities for the purpose. the woman wear them in a Similar manner except in the nose which they never purfarate. they are also fond of a Species of wompum, which is furnished by a trader whome they call Swipton. it seams to be the nativ form of the Shell without any preperation. this Shell is of a conic form Somewhat curved about the Size of a ravens quill at the base, and tapering to a point which is Sufficiently large to permit a hollow through which a Small thread passes; it is from 1 to 11/2 inches in length, white, Smooth, hard and thin these are worn in the Same manner in which the beeds are; and furnish the men with their favorite orniment for the nose. one of these Shells is passed horizontally through cartilage of the nose and Serves frequently as a kind of ring which prevents the string which Suspends other orniments at the Same part from Chafing and freting the flesh. The men Sometimes wear Collars of Bears Claws, and the women and children the tusks of the Elk variously arranged on their necks arms &c. both male and female wear bracelets on their wrists of Copper, Brass or Iron in various forms. The women Sometimes wash their faces & hands but Seldom. I think the most disgusting Sight I have ever beheld is those dirty naked wenches.
The men of those nations partake of much more of the domestic drudgery than I had at first Supposed. they Collect and prepare all the fuel, make the fires, cook for the Strangers who visit them, and assist in Cleaning and prepareing the fish. they also build their houses, construct their Canoes, and make all their wooden utensils. the peculiar province of the woman Seams to be to collect roots and manufacture various articles which are prepared of rushes, flags, Cedar bark, bear grass or way tape, also dress and manufacture the Hats & robes for Common use. the management of the Canoe for various purposes Seams to be a duty common to both Sexes, as are many other occupations which with most Indian nations devolve exclusively on the womin. their feasts of which they are very fond are always prepared and Served by the men.-.-.
it Continued to rain So constantly dureing the day that Sergt. Pryor Could not Pay his Canoes. The Clatsop Chief Commowool and the two Cath-lah-mahs left us this evening and returned to their village.