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 Ceremonialism.
Traditional Chinookan ceremonies or religious rituals were particularly vulnerable to the rapid changes that came with Euro-American contact. Change and loss occurred after the epidemics of the 1830s removed many specialists and broke apart the critical mass of people needed for group performances; and in the early 1840s, when missionaries at the surviving settlements at Willamette Falls, The Cascades, and the mouth of the Columbia discouraged traditional life rites. After such experiences, the details on what was practiced and the belief system behind it remained mostly in the minds of a few traditionalist survivors.
This reconstruction of what went before is based on two sets of data: eyewitness accounts of practices from the early contact period and ethnographic information collected from Chinookan informants between 1890 and 1936. Extant accounts were compared, identifying both recurring elements and passages that are judged to be particularly reliable, and recombined into configurations or geographically limited clusters. Complete firsthand or remembered accounts of single ceremonies have been especially valuable sources.
Boyd, Robert T., "Lower Columbia Chinookan Ceremonialism," in Chinookan Peoples of the Lower Columbia River, pages 181-198. University of Washington Press (June 2013)