Published on October 14, 2010 by John
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Cowlitz County, Washington
The Cowlitz are a group of Native American peoples from what is now western Washington state in the United States. The Cowlitz tribe actually consists of two distinct groups: the Upper Cowlitz, or Taidnapam, and the Lower Cowlitz, or Kawlic.
The original language of Cowlitz tribes, the Cowlitz language, belonged to the Salishan family of languages among Northwest Coast indigenous peoples. Later, the Upper Cowlitz adopted the Sahaptin language from east of the Cascade Mountains.
The Cowlitz were federally acknowledged on February 14, 2000, and their acknowledgement was reaffirmed in 2002. They are now recognized officially by the United States federal government, and are in the process of establishing federally recognized tribal lands (such as on a reservation) near Longview, Washington.
The Cowlitz produced fully imbricated, coiled baskets with strong geometric designs. These were made of bear grass, cedar root, horse tail root and cedar bark and were used to gather berries and fruits. Such baskets were often repaired and kept through many generations.
The Cowlitz tribe was historically based along the Cowlitz and Lewis Rivers, as well as having a strong presence at Fort Vancouver. The first white man known to have contacted the Cowlitz was Simon Plamondon of Quebec. He eventually married Chief Scanewea’s daughter, Thas-e-muth.
The tribal offices are in Longview, Washington.