Basic Information

Food

The People of the Plateau ate a large variety of food. Though salmon was their most relied food source they also had other food sources such deer and berries.  In the spring, salmon was harvested beside rives by both the men and women. Salmon was caught using many different methods and tools such as dip nets and basket traps. Most of the salmon that was caught was dried and stored, and only small amount was eaten. The Salmon provided one third of their diet. The Plateau women gathered a variety of roots such as balsam root and berries such as Saskatoon berries, Raspberries, and Blue berries . Elk antlers were used as shovels for digging. Inner evergreen bark was also collected. After the bark was hung dry it was edible for a long time. Hunting also provided the plateau people food. Large mammals such as deer were caught with dead fall and pit traps, while small animals such as ducks were snared with nets. The Plateau people also ate a nutritious pemmican cake, which was made of salmon oil, powdered fish and Saskatoon berries.


Sockeye Salmon  was the main source of food for the Plateau people

Shelter

The Plateau people lived in long houses and pit houses. Long houses were 27 meters long and had enough space for several families to have separate sleeping areas. These lodges were constructed of light pole frames, and covered with tree bough, bark or rush mats. In the winter the Plateau people would move to their pit houses. The pit houses were around 6 to 20 meters across and about 3 meters deep in the ground. The pit house was covered with rafters and then bark and earth. A hearth was made in the middle of the pit house. Above the hearth was a hole which was used to enter and exit the pit house and for the smoke to escape. a notched log was then placed on top of the hole. The pit house was great at isolating heat, but it usually rotted in a few years.

The plateau people move to their pit houses in the winter

Clothing

People of the plateau usually wore clothing made of animal skin. Dear skin clothing such as  the moccasins was popular, because it indicated a certain status. Skillful weavers wove reeds and fiber into baskets and packs such as baby packs. Though baskets were used for collecting things some were also used for cooking. Cooking with the basket was done by filling the basket with water then dropping hot stones inside to boil the water. The plateau people decorated their clothing and treasured items with beautiful designs, beads, porcupine quills and other precious items.

A well decorated moccasin made by the Nez Perce

Population Demographics

Most of the populations of the plateau people lived along rivers and other water sources. The Carrier, Okanagan, Shuswap, Stl'at'imx, Thompson, Chilcotin, Nez Perce, Flathead, Modoc, Cayuse, Umatilla, Walla Walla, and Salishan people lived in the southern plateau region while the Dene-than, Gitksan, and Athapaskan groups lived in the northern regions. The Kootenay lived along the Rockys mountains.

The different tribes and their approximate  locations