The Friends of Spokane House hosted a living history exhibit this weekend where participants dressed in clothing from the time of the original trading post (1810) and displayed traditional crafts. As part of the event, my Uncle Pat and I had the opportunity to speak to people about the history of the Spokane Tribe.
Spokane House introduced many new items into our local culture, like guns and metal pots. They also brought decorative items, like glass beads from Italy.
The traders persuaded the people to deliver beaver pelts in exchange for trade items. Beaver skins thus became a kind of currency or money.
As an interesting side note, one of the earliest Salish words I learned in my childhood was a word for money. Years ago, I sometimes asked my father to take us to the movies or buy ice cream, and he would often respond by saying, "We got no sqlew." I always understood his meaning, "We have no money," but it wasn't until I was an adult that I realized the true meaning of this word: sqlew is the Spokane term for beaver. It's interesting to me that Spokane House influenced my family almost 200 years later.
The beaver pelts were used to make top hats in Europe.
The grave of Jacco Finley near Spokane House.
Dakota near the Northwest Company flag.