Okanagan (American Indians Ready Reference)
Initially the Okanagan (also spelled “Okanogan” and “Okana-gon”) comprised two groups, the Northern Okanagan and Southern Okanagan (also known as the Sinkaietk). The Northern Okanagan lived near the Canadian boundary in the present province of British Columbia, and the Southern Okanagan inhabited the area around the Okanagan River, a tributary of the Columbia River, in north-central Washington.
The Southern Okanagan practiced the culture of the Plateau tribes, and their interaction with coastal tribes was minimal. The Okanagan followed a seasonal cycle. In the winter they lived in permanent camps, some in subterranean housing but most in a long mat lodge. A few lived in tipis. During the winter, they depended on the resources they had collected during the spring, summer, and fall, supplemented by whatever they could hunt or fish. Their principal food source was salmon, but deer were also important to their diet.
With the coming of spring, the gathering of food began to replenish the exhausted winter supply and the tribe became mobile, breaking up into different groups. One of the first activities was fishing for suckers, followed by steelhead trout. The most important fishing, however, took place in the summer salmon camps. Weirs were built to aid the capture of large catches. The salmon that were caught were either dried or frozen. All the available salmon were taken, and the old women of the camp would even pick up the dead salmon...
(The entire section is 620 words.)
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