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Looking Back: Coastal Native Americans
Published: 09/27/2016
The Clam Diggers circa 1894
The Clam Diggers circa 1894
The Library of Congress

For generations groups of Northwest Coast Indians living near the ocean supplemented their diet with a variety of clams and oysters.

The numerous bays up and down Oregon's coast are fertile waters for a variety of shellfish. For many Native American Indians living close to shore, shellfish provided a bountiful food staple. Compared to other Native Americans, Northwest Coast Indians were considered rich because they had an abundance of food. Shown are two elderly Indian women with a small cluster of clams. The poles and sacks were used to dig and gather the clams.

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