Chinookan Peoples of the Lower Columbia
Chinookan Indians--Lower Columbia River Watershed (Or. and Wash.) -- History, Chinookan Indians -- Lower Columbia River Watershed (Or. and Wash.) -- Social life and customs, Lower Columbia River Watershed (Or. and Wash.) -- History, Lower Columbia River Watershed (Or. and Wash.) -- Social life and customs
This chapter, included in Chinookan Peoples of the Lower Columbia, published by the University of Washington Press in 2013, explores Lower Columbia Chinookan houses and households.
Households are central to understanding what anthropologists and others term complex societies-that is, societies that feature social stratification, high population densities, monumental architecture, and an emphasis on wealth. Most premodern complex societies practiced agriculture, which enabled the high levels of food production that most researchers thought were needed to support complexity. Northwest Coast peoples, however, including those along the Lower Columbia and a few other known human populations, had complex societies based on hunting-gathering economies (Price and Brown 1985). For several decades, anthropologists have been trying to figure out how this happened. How did communities with only a hunter-gatherer economy produce not only enough resources to meet basic needs but also the surplus to support hereditary elites, high population densities, and the other resource-intensive aspects of complexity?
Ames, Kenneth M. and Elizabeth A. Sobel, "Houses and Households," in Chinookan Peoples of the Lower Columbia River, pages 125-145. University of Washington Press (June 2013)