on the Rivers
In common with the Nimi'ipuu, the Schitsu' Umsh had rich resources provided
by the rivers and the surrounding forest.
were so plentiful that the population density was five humans per each
100 square miles, with local populations of the Schitsu' Umsh increasing
to 100-200 people, many more humans than could live on the deserts of
the Snake River Plain.
were so plentiful that Coeur d' Alene families lived a settled life
in villages, rather than having to pursue a nomadic lifestyle as did
the Bannock and Shoshoni People.
for the Schitsu' Umsh was attained through hunting and gathering activities
of the men and women.
made of syringa and bowstrings made from t'insh (sinew), the men hunted
deer, elk and bear. Trips would also be made into Montana to hunt bison,
although the Schitsu' Umsh did not keep large herds of horses for doing
long distance traveling. The Schitsu' Umsh used horse hair from the
mane and tail for cordage to make rope and bridal reins.
included using fire to encircle animals and then killing them. A similar
strategy involved driving the animals into lakes and then killing them
from canoes. Many of the hunts were community activities rather than
single hunters, which would ensure that everyone in the village would
have food. Small animals such as beaver, marmot, squirrel, badger and
rabbit were also hunted.
available in the streams were the trout, squawfish, white fish and some
shell fish. Amazingly, fish were rare even though the Schitsu' Umsh
lived in an area with many streams. To solve this problem the Schitsu'
Umsh would travel, sometimes great distances, to fish for more than
their streams provided. Bands would travel south in the Spring to the
North Fork of the Clearwater River and west to Kettle and Spokane Falls
where they could fish the early salmon and visit with their neighbors
the Nimapu and other tribes.
fishing were complex and made under the supervision of a "boss"
who regulated the construction. Naturally hooks and line would be used,
but they also used spears, weirs, traps, harpoons and dip nets which
were made from cordage, bone, stone, wood, antler and sinew. Also used
for twining cordage were kinnikinnick and cedar roots.
men fished, hunted and made tools, the women followed their own calendar
of activities to provide food. June signaled the beginning of the root
harvest. Small groups of women would move from one area to the next
to gather ripening roots using a syringa digging stick.
large groups would come together to harvest camas near DeSmet, Clarkia,
and Moscow, Idaho. Because of the large, temporary populations at these
three areas, activities other than food gathering developed. Ceremonies,
such as marriages, trading between tribes and organization of late-summer
bison hunts would take place.
summer faded into fall, the women were busy gathering bitteroot, wild
onion, berries, nuts and wild rhubarb (which was a delicacy). Foods
were processed by the women using mortars and pestles made from river