About this collection

The rich diversity of Native American life in the Pacific Northwest dating from the mid 19th century to the late 20th century is captured in several thousand photographs and negatives at the Washington State Historical Society.

The photos show basket weavers, canoe carvers, camas root diggers, a Nisqually potlatch, industrial boarding schools and the Cushman Indian Hospital. The photographs illustrate the Makah whale hunt at Neah Bay, spear fishing on the San Poil River on the Colville Reservation and the historic annual gathering of fishermen for the salmon run at Celilo Falls on the Columbia River. The collection also includes portraits of Chief Seattle, Chief Joseph, Chief Leschi, Chief Lawyer, and many others. Among the tribes represented are the Colville, Lummi, Nisqually, Puyallup, Makah, Nez Perce, Quileute, Quinault, Skokomish, Tulalip, Wanapum, and Yakama.