The Tillamook Tribe

Published on May 24, 2013 by Amy

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Tillamook People
Tillamook People

At the time of Lewis and Clark, the land on the northwest Oregon coast was home to the Tillamook Indians. The Tillamooks lived in a series of towns starting at the mouth of the Necanicum River and continuing southward to Tillamook Bay. As it turned out, the Tillamook village of Necost would be the southernmost point reached by the Corps of Discovery on the Oregon coast.

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The Tillamooks’ primary encounter with the expedition came in January 1806. A large whale washed ashore on the beach near Necost, and the Tillamooks were quick to make use of the creature. They sliced off chunks of blubber, piled them in a wooden trough, and cooked out the oil, saving it for later. The blubber was kept for food.

After the Corps heard about the whale, Clark led a party south from the expedition’s winter residence at Fort Clatsop to trade for blubber. Thirty-five miles and two days later, when Clark reached the beach, he found that the Tillamooks had stripped the whale to the bones. The Indians bargained with him for the blubber, and in exchange for 300 pounds and some oil, the Tillamooks received some trade goods.

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