The Clark Event 2011
September 22nd - 25th, 2011
Chinook Indian Country
Long Beach, Washington
Join us in Chinook Indian Country for a weekend of Lewis & Clark History,
Chinook Indian Nation History and an unprecedented reparation ceremony of the Canoe stolen by Lewis & Clark in 1806 to the Chinook Indian Nation.
The Weekend Events
Am amazing historical tour on Friday through the Chinook Indian Nation lands where Lewis & Clark stayed in the winter of 1805 - 1806.
Visit the Fort where they stayed, Chinook Indian Nation lands they traveled and meet relatives of those that helped the Corps of Discovery survive the winter of
1805 - 1806.
Learn the history of the Chinook Indian Nation that the books do not tell.
We conclude the the tour at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center atop Cape Disappointment with Reception and members of the Chinook Indian Nation.
A chance to speak one on one with members who will share their history and what is like to be a Native American in the 21st century.
Saturday will offer a unique opportunity to be a part of a Sacred Chinook Indian Nation ceremony reserved for tribal members. You will be a part of the Reparation Ceremony of the Canoe stolen in 1806, join in the Naming Ceremony of the Canoe and the maiden voyage of the Canoe. The Ceremony is followed by a Chinook Indian Nation Traditional Feast celebrating the return of the Canoe.
The Clark Event 2011 is an Unprecedented Historical Reparation
you are invited to participate.
Read the history below and glance the the following pages and
Join us for this incredible opportunity to be a part of history in the making!!
The History of the Event
On the Lower Columbia, November 30th 1805:
As the Corps of Discovery proceeded on toward the mouth of the Columbia, Clark made an entry in his journals describing a Chinook burial, “…on those Cross bars a Small Canoe is placed, in which the body is laid after being Carefully roled in a robe of Some dressed Skins; a paddle is also deposited with them; a larger Canoe is now reversed, overlaying and embracing the Small one, and resting with its gunnals on the Cross bars; one or more large mats of flags or rushes are then ruled around the Canoe and the whole securely lashed with a long Cord usially made of bark of the arbar vita or white Cedar. On the Cross bars which Support the Canoes is frequently hung or laid various articles of Clothing Culinary utensils &c. we cannot understand them Sufficiently to make any inquiries relitive to their religious opinions, from their depositing Various articles with their dead, beleve in a State of future ixistence…”. It would be the first of many ethnographic observations concerning the Chinookan people and their canoes. (Ignoring capitalization, Clark only makes eight (8) spelling mistakes in the above entry!)
The Corps established Fort Clatsop, their damp winter quarters in the lush spruce and fir forest along the Netul River, on the south side of the Columbia. The months ahead loomed as an endless string of rain-soaked days, accompanied by mildew, spoiled elk, and the incessant companionship of the coastal fleas. With a sense of awe and fear, on Dec. 16, Clark wrote, “The winds violent Trees falling in every derection, whorl winds, with gust of rain Hail & Thunder, this kind of weather lasted all day, Certainly one of the worst days that ever was!”. A typical string of phrases in the Corps journals reads “we are all wet and disagreeable”, “cold and a dreadful day”, and the most common of all, “The rain continued as usual”. There are also numerous references to their unwelcome companions, “The fleas so bad last night that I made but a broken nights rest we can’t get them out of our robes and skins which we are obliged to make use of for our bedding”; “The fleas are so troublesome that I have slept but little for two nights past and we have regularly to kill them out of our blankets every day”; “The fleas are very troublesome, our huts have already swarms of those disagreeable insects in them, and I fear we shall not get rid of them during our delay at this place”.
Over the winter the captains stayed busy consolidating their store of notes and maps from the outbound trip. In addition, Lewis diligently described and cataloged the plants and animals around Fort Clatsop new to Eastern eyes. Clark worked to complete his cartographic masterpiece of their route across the continent. The Corps was busy hunting elk, making salt and dressing skins for clothes and moccasins.
The captains would make numerous ethnographic observations as to the appearance of the Native Americans and their villages they visited. Confident of their own cultural superiority, their descriptions reflect how the explorers never doubted the wisdom of judging native people by Euro-American standards. The explorers described, often with great detail, the external of native life. But the meaning of that life, the interior vision, and especially the spirituality of the Indians seemed to elude them. Lewis and Clark described how the Indians looked and behaved but paid little attention to the native minds and souls. The Captains wrote fine descriptions of the outside of plank houses, but they said very little about how the Indians lived within.
In route to see the great whale, Clark would again observe a canoe burial near Tillamook head. The following day near where the whale was beached he observed “…the Kil a mox Secure the dead bodies in an oblong box of Plank, which is placed in an open canoe resting on the ground, in which is put a paddle and Sundry other articles the property of deceased.” Captain Lewis’s entry for February 1, 1806, includes a detailed description of coastal canoes, including 5 sketches of the various sizes of canoes and their carved images. Lewis in a rare biblical reference remarked about the bow and stern carvings found on the larger canoes, “their images are representations of a great variety of grotesque figures, any of which might be safely worshiped without committing a breach of the commandments”. The explorers admired and noted in great detail the design of the Indian canoes. They also on a number of occasions noted their use for burying the dead. Yet in spite of their detailed ethnographic studies, the importance of the canoe in everyday life and the connection with the afterlife of the natives seems to have eluded them. They failed to recognize that for the Chinookan Northwestern Tribal people, the canoe was not just a utilitarian part of life. It was in fact an integral living part of their lives and families in this world, and an important part of their spirituality and their beliefs as to what was needed to transport them to the next life. The coastal canoes had a heart and a name. They were held sacred as a living part of daily life, and a vehicle to transport the deceased to the spirit world. Perhaps the explorers were blinded by their Jeffersonian Enlightenment beliefs, viewing the Indians as low in the evolutionary process on their way to reaching the equivalent of the white man, and their spirituality was beyond their comprehension. Perhaps their vision was blurred and they could not see beyond the constraints of their military experiences and their memories of the Indian Wars on the dark and bloody grounds of the Ohio Valley. Had they opened their eyes, had they been able to see beyond the material world on the coast, they may have avoided the Corps of Discovery’s darkest hour.
Lewis, March 17th, 1806:
“…for this canoe he gave my uniform laced coat and nearly half a carrot of tobacco. it seems that nothing excep this coat would induce them to depose of a canoe which in their mode of traffic is an article of the greatest value except a wife with whom it is equal, and generally given in exchange to the father for his daughter.” Lewis goes on to say, “we yet want another canoe, and as the Clatsops will not sell us one at a price which we can afford to give we will take one from them in lue of the six elk which they stole from us in the winter”. It seems Capt. Lewis had a bout with “convenient memory”. The Clatsop Chief Coboway, in a sincere effort to make restitution for the stolen elk, had brought three dogs to the Fort as payment in full. To add insult to injury, the friendly Chief Coboway was visiting the fort while four of Lewis and Clarks men slipped away to his village and stole a canoe. The Captains had abandoned a two year tradition of never stealing from the Indians. The honesty and integrity of the Corps that distinguished them from explorers like DeSoto and Pizarro had been tarnished. Unfortunately, this blot on the expedition’s honor proved to be a cautionary tale—one that revealed the white morality the Indians would confront in the years to come.
In a sad postscript to the theft of the canoe, some eight years later Chief Coboway brought to the Northwest Company trader Alexander Henry, a piece of paper the friendly Chief had preserved dated March 19th, 1806; It was a list of the members of the Corps of Discovery. Despite their ill treatment of him, the Chief cherished this reminder of the explorers his people called “pah-shish’-e-ooks “the cloth men.”
Now more than 200 years later you are invited to participate in a special healing ceremony to nurture and strengthen the friendship with our Chinook Tribal Nation’s brothers and sisters, and help right a 200 year old wrong. At this special event, a Chinook Canoe will be symbolically gifted as reparation for the Canoe stolen over 200 years ago to our Chinookan brothers and sisters. Please join us as we embrace old friendships and make new, and in so doing, become a closer knit American Family—May God Bless our American Family!
Written by Peyton "Bud" Clark, portrayer of Capt. William Clark for the Bicentennial Lewis & Clark Expedition 2003 - 2006
Chinookan & Chinook Indian Nation was used throughout the text to refer to the Bands of the Northwest Coastal Tribes at the mouth of the Columbia River that Lewis and Clark had contact with during the winter of 1805 - 1806: Cathlamet, Clatsop, Lower Chinook, Wahkiakum & Willapa.
Quotes extracted from the Lewis & Clark Journals
Catel and his family left us this morning. Old Delashelwilt and his women still remain they have formed a ca[m]p near the fort and seem to be determined to lay close sege to us but I beleive notwithstanding every effort of their wining graces, the men have preserved their constancy to the vow of celibacy which they made on this occasion to Capt C. and myself. we have had our perogues prepared for our departer, and shal set out as soon as the weather will permit. the weather is so precarious that we fear by waiting untill the first of April that we might be detained several days longer before we could get from this to the Cathlahmahs as it must be calm or we cannot accomplish that part of our rout. Drewyer returned late this evening from the Cathlahmahs with our canoe which Sergt. Pryor had left some days since, and also a canoe which he had purchased from those people. for this canoe he gave my uniform laced coat and nearly half a carrot of tobacco. it seems that nothing excep this coat would induce them to dispose of a canoe which in their mode of traffic is an article of the greatest val[u]e except a wife, with whom it is equal, and is generally given in exchange to the father for his daughter. I think the U' States are indebted to me another Uniform coat, for that of which I have disposed on this occasion was but little woarn.— we yet want another canoe, and as the Clatsops will not sell us one at a price which we can afford to give we will take one from them in lue of the six Elk which they stole from us in the winter. 
Tuesday, March 18th, 1806 a Showery morning of rain and hail. Some Thunder. we repair the Small canoes. 4 men went over to the prarie near the coast to take a canoe which belongd to the Clotsop Indians, as we are in want of it.  in the evening they returned 2 of them by land and killd. an Elk.  the others took the canoe near the fort and concealed it, as the chief of the Clotsops is now here.
Tuesday March 18th We had showers of rain, some hail & thunder this morning. the hands were employ'd in repairing our small Canoe, & getting everything in readiness in order to ascend the River on our way homewards.— Our officers sent 4 Men over the River, to a Priari which lay near the Ocean in order to get a small Canoe which belonged to the Clatsop Indians. They returned in the Evening with the Canoe.  They had put 2 Men of the party on shore who also returned having killed an Elk on their way to the Fort. Two Centuries Later:
It was during the Bicentennial Events of the Lewis and Clark Expedition that Carlota "Lotsie" Clark Holton and Rick Holton made the acquaintance of Ray Gardner, Tribal Chairman of the Chinook Indian Nation. They became fast friends and shared the history as they knew it of Wm. Clark and Native Nations on the Northwest Coast at the mouth of the Columbia River. As seen above, the accounts of the Lewis and Clark history as we know it are from their journals. There are no written accounts of the Nations at that time to gain insight to their experience, only the oral history passed down through the generations.
With this in mind, Lotsie and Ray shared their stories and feelings about the injustices done and the lack of appreciation shown by The Corps of Discovery during the winter of 1805 - 1806. After a canoe trip with Ray and American Rivers, Lotsie and Rick received an invitation to come to The First Salmon Ceremony with Chinook Indian Nation. Rick went and met with the Elders at the request of Lotsie. to express her desire for the Clark family as a whole to return the canoe that was stolen from the tribes over two centuries ago.. The historical significance lies in stories retold to Rick that one day, 7th generation decedents would 'Let the Healing Begin'. These stories of 7th generation healing are not only found in the Northwestern Nations but throughout Native history across the continent.
A year and a half later, Rick and Lotsie arranged, with the help of Ray, to have a canoe built and returned to the Chinook Indian Nation. After much anticipation, construction of the canoe began. With excitement mounting, Lotsie and Rick decided that as this reparation is an endeavor of historical proportions, that the entire Clark family should be invited to join in contributing to the construction of the canoe. With this, the realization that the reparation would not be complete without a ceremony involving the entire Clark family and the Chinook Indian Nation.
This reparation ceremony, especially one that spans healing, history, and hope, will have enormous historical implications. Rick and Lotsie's dream is to see the Canoe given to the Chinook Indian Nation by the Clark family to further the acknowledgement of the injustices done to the Native people of this land. Injustices such as this are rarely publicized and often go unrecognized. They hope that with this gesture to the Chinook Indian Nation,by the entire Clark family,that word will spread of this reparation. That people throughout this Nation will begin to see the real truth, not just what has been written in the history books but learn the real stories and work together: White, Black, Red and Yellow to 'Let the Healing Begin' across the nation and throughout the world. To see that even the smallest events carry on a life of their own. As one rain drop is the beginning of a stream, so is one hand helping another in friendship until we begin to heal the hurt caused by the past.
Two Centuries Later: