Archeologists estimate that early Indian settlements existed along the lower and middle Columbia River as early as 10,000 to 15,000 years ago. Petroglyphs found in this region are fascinating representations of the vision quests, religious rituals, and hunting expeditions of the Native Americans who first lived here.
Typical examples of these can be seen at the Clark County Historical Museum or near the Grant House on Officers Row in Vancouver. They provide an intriguing glimpse into a faraway time and people.
In more recent times, the tribes came both from the Plains states and British Columbia. They located along the Columbia River and other streams that held salmon, the mainstay of their diet. The Chinook were the region's principal tribe. They traded over a vast area into what is now California, Alaska, and Oregon. Other tribes included the Cowlitz, Klickitat, and Clackamas.