In olden times, every clan wanted to give the best potlatch to show how wealthy they were. A clan would spend a fortune on a single potlatch, wealth they did not have, simply to appear as if they did. The need to show how wealthy you were, no matter how untrue, nearly destroyed these early people.
Fur Trade Wealth: What saved them was the fur trade. The fur trade was introduced by the white men. Furs were easy for these early native people to get. They were wonderful hunters. Fur trade wealth poured into the Pacific Northwest. The white traders also had steel tools. With the coming of the fur trade and steel tools, many native people were able to gain the wealth they needed to climb the social ladder of their culture.