Northwest - Government & Wealth Illustration

Reputation & Wealth
Pacific Northwest Native Americans
in Olden Times for Kids


Unlike other tribes across the country, the Pacific Northwest Coastal Indians never developed democracy. That made them different. Instead, they ruled by wealth.

The clan with the most wealth had the most power. They set great store by wealth, family connections, and slave ownership. They took social climbing to a new level.

One of the ways you gained great respect was by giving things away. If someone gave you one blanket, you gave them two or three blankets. Such generosity made a man famous.

The Potlatch

The Fur Trade

Money Blankets & Coppers

Clans & Marriage