Don McCune Library

Makah Indian History

Makah Indian History
80 minutes - $24.95

This DVD includes the two programs described below.

Makah Indian History
50 minutes - 1971

Makah Longhouse For thousands of years the Makah Tribe existed by harvesting whales in canoes hewn from giant cedar logs. Hundreds of years ago, a mudslide buried their village at Ozette, on Washington's north coast, preserving a snapshot of this prehistoric culture. In this two-part Exploration Northwest special, archeologists unearth the perfectly-preserved remains of the Makah Indian culture. 50,000 artifacts were recovered yielding evidence the site dates back 3,000 years; the most complete inventory ever found in the US.

Makah whale fin Here's an excerpt from the show by writer/narrator Don McCune: "Six, maybe ten thousand years ago, they were already there along the north west coastline. The whale hunters. The people of the whale. Here, long before New Bedford. Long before Jonah, even, they harvested the mammals of the deep, the gray whales, which for thousands of years have passed by here. These were the whalers, and at the top of the list were the Makah-Ozette.

In March of 1970, high tides and heavy wave action collapsed a section of bank at the old abandoned Ozette Indian village at Cape Alava, revealing what appeared to be a few sharpened stakes and some cedar planks. To the trained eyes of Dr. Richard Daugherty, head of Washington State University's Department of Anthropology, it was enough. Called in at the request of an alert Makah leader named Ed Claplanhoo, he identified it as the partially exposed remains of an Indian house which had been buried in a mudslide centuries before, a find of major importance."

Originally aired under the KOMO title “People of the Whale: Part 1 and Part 2”.

Time Capsule At Ozette
30 minutes - 1975

Excavation site Four years after the above one-hour special was produced, the Exploration Northwest cameras returned to the Ozette archaeological dig to film an update on this phenomenal find. Two more longhouses were unearthed along with many more artifacts.