Native American Cultures
& Traditions Live On in Cowlitz County
Cowlitz Indian Tribe
The legacy of an ancient people in southwest Washington
is rich with descendants who manage a growing portfolio
of health, education, scientific research, housing,
transportation, development, elder care, conservation
and legal issues. The Cowlitz Tribe is a growing force
in community building in what are now Clark, Cowlitz,
Lewis and parts of Pierce, Skamania and Wahkiakum
Counties, a vast territory occupied by numerous Cowlitz
villages prior to non-Cowlitz exploration and seizure.
Today, an elected Tribal Council is composed of
professionals adept at managing multiple programs and
Tribal members engage in a rich cultural practice of old
Cowlitz life ways such the Smelt, Salmon and River
Ceremonies. They join coastal tribes in Canoe Journeys
on major waterways. They drum and sing at ceremonies
throughout the year and as called upon for funerals,
naming ceremonies, healings and celebration. The Cowlitz
Pow-Wow is one of the largest in southern Washington.
The Cowlitz Tribe is a significant employer and
contributor to local economies. When the Federal
Government recognized the tribe officially in 2000, the
Tribe thought of it as belated acknowledgement of a
cohesive culture spanning centuries. Without cover of
Federal status, tribal members overcame tremendous
obstacles during millennium changes, holding firm to
their remembered past as one of the largest and richest
tribes in what is now Washington State.
Lelooska Cultural Center
The museum at the Lelooska Cultural Center features
Native American artifacts from many regions, along with
the works of renowned wood sculptor Chief Lelooska.
Experience magnificent Northwest Coast masks as they
come to life in the glimmering firelight of
Kwakwaka'wakw (Kwakiutl) ceremonial house.
Images courtesy of Lelooska Foundation - All Rights