A Historical Look at Coastal Native Americans
Published: 09/26/2016  Updated: 08/13/2019
The Clam Diggers circa 1894
The Clam Diggers circa 1894  The Library of Congress

For generations groups of Northwest Coast Indians living near the ocean supplemented their diet with a variety of clams and oysters.

The numerous bays up and down Oregon's coast are fertile waters for a variety of shellfish. For many Native American Indians living close to shore, shellfish provided a bountiful food staple. Compared to other Native Americans, Northwest Coast Indians were considered rich because they had an abundance of food. Shown are two elderly Indian women with a small cluster of clams. The poles and sacks were used to dig and gather the clams.
A Historical Look at Coastal Native Americans