#1. The Quileute Tribe Was Whalers
Whales were important to the Quileute tribe as they provided so many important resources for them.
The most common whales that were hunted were the California gray whale and the humpback whale. Each of these whales provided food, bones for tools and weapons, baleen also used for tools, sinew for strings, and the gut for multiple resources.
#2. The Quileute Language Is An Isolate
What does it mean when a language is isolated?
It means that the language used is not a common language used among other tribes. For example, the Quileute language is an isolate, but the Iroquoian language is not.
Why is that? The Iroquoian tribes had many tribes that spoke the language. This allowed the tribes with similar languages to become a Confederacy and allowed the Tuscarora to join the Confederacy when they fled the Southeast to the Northeast.
The Quileute tribe was the only tribe to speak the language, so as time passes, the language becomes extinct because it was isolated to just one tribe.
#3. They Were Excellent Craftsmen
The Quileute tribe were excellent craftsmen.
It was important that they craft various different items for survival. They were known for their excellent canoes, which would range from small to large canoes that could haul in whales and hold much cargo and men. The modern clipper ship's hull uses a design much like the canoes used by the Quileutes
They built plank houses, which were similar to longhouses, to be able to withstand the rough winters that would come.
The tools that they built were also of a higher quality than other tribes. The better the tool, the better the finished product.
#4. They Believed Everyone Had A Guardian
The Quileute tribe's belief system holds that every person has an individual guardian. They would pray to the guardian, along with the sun and Tsikáti (the universe).
Much of their original religion was lost after the disruption of European encounters, diseases, losses, and colonization.
James Island, an island visible from First Beach, has played a role in all aspects of Quileute beliefs and culture.
Originally called A-Ka-Lat ("Top of the Rock"), it was used as a fortress to keep opposing tribes out and served as a burial ground for chiefs.
#5. The Quileute Tribe Were Slaveowners
The Quileute Tribe practiced slavery. Usually, this occurred when they won a conflict against another tribe and would enslave all or some of the population that was captured.
This ended when the tribe came in contact with the United States, and it occurred prior to the Civil War.
Isaac Stevens and the Quileute signed the Treaty of Olympia. They ceded great amounts of land and agreed to resettle on the Quinault Reservation. It was in the Treaty of Olympia, Article 11, that the Quileute Tribe was required to give up their slaves.
Article 11 states:
The said tribes and bands agree to free all slaves now held by them and not to purchase or acquire others hereafter.
About 10 years later, slavery would be outlawed across the entire country.