Chinook Tribe

Chinook (from Tsinúk, their Chehalis name). The best-known tribe of the Chinookan family. They claimed the territory on the north side of Columbia River, Washington, from the mouth to Grays bay, a distance of about 15 miles, and north along the seacoast as far as the north part of Shoalwater bay, where they were met by the Chehalis, a Salish tribe. The Chinook were first described by Lewis and Clark, who visited them in 1805, though they had been known to traders for at least 12 years previously. Lewis and Clark estimated their number at 400, but referred only to those living on Columbia River. Swan placed their number at 112 in 1855, at which time they were much mixed with the Chehalis, with whom they have since completely fused, their language being now extinct. From their proximity to Astoria and their intimate relations with the early traders, the Chinook soon became well known, and their language formed the basis for the widely spread Chinook jargon, which was first used as a trade language and is now a medium of communication from California to Alaska. The portion of the tribe living around Shoalwater bay was called Atsmitl. The following divisions and villages have been recorded: Chinook, Gitlapshoi, Nemah, Nisal, Palux, Wharhoots.


Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

Pin It on Pinterest

Scroll to Top