Coastal and Plateau Native Americans

Last Updated: 25 May 2023
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The Coastal and Plateau Native Americans have different lifestyles in food, housing, and transportation because of where they lived. The Cascade Mountains separate the Coastal and Plateau tribes, and puts them into two different environments, caused by the rainshadow effect. Being in two different environments, means that both of the tribes are in different climates, which changes how they live. The Coastal live in a colder and wetter climate due to being so close to the Pacific Ocean. The Plateau tribe has a warmer and dryer climate since they are farther away.

When it comes to food for the Native Americans, it is very different. For the Coastal tribe, they would fish and hunt all sorts of animals like; salmon, seal, deer, bear, goats, and whale. Whale hunting was really big for the Native Americans, especially tribes that were closer to the ocean. The women would usually pick roots and berries, and cook the food (Lambert 100). The Plateau Native Americans were not by water all the time because they were nomadic. They did not get all the same foods as the Coastal, but they hunted a lot. They usually hunted deer, antelope, rabbits, goats, and buffalo.

When they moved by water, they would get salmon and other fish (Lambert 100-102). Coastal and Plateau Native Americans had very different housing styles. The Coastal lived in houses called longhouses. Longhouses were large permanent cedar log houses that were usually 40 to 100 feet long. There were no windows and very few doors (Lambert 105). On the other hand, the Plateau Natives lived in tepees. Since the Plateau Natives were nomadic, which means they did not stay in one place for long, they moved frequently. That required a form of shelter that was easy to put up and take down.

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A tepee is a cone shaped shelter made of several long poles covered by woven mats or animal hides. During the winter, the Plateau Native Americans would move into caves, or construct a pit house which is covered in animal skin, hides, and earth materials (Lambert 105). Transportation was a very big deal in the lives for Coastal and Plateau Native Americans. For the Coastal, they would walk and occasionally use horses. They began to use dug-out canoes. Building a canoe was simple, but needed a lot of hard work. It usually took around a month to complete one canoe. Canoes were used to transport people, trading goods, and supplies.

They came in varies sizes, large ones could be up to 30 feet and hold up to 25-30 people (Lambert 106). Unlike the Coastal, the Plateau did not have canoes. They would walk, or run to get where they needed to go. In the early 1800s, they started to capture wild horses. The Plateau Natives would breed, trade, receive, exchange, or steel horses from other tribes (Lambert 106). The Appaloosa breed of horses as the most popular for the tribes. Coastal and Plateau Native Americans did not have the same lifestyle, because the Cascade Mountains dividing the two environments.

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Coastal and Plateau Native Americans. (2017, Apr 27). Retrieved from

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