Any good pioneer knows that shelter is just as important as food and water. With winter just around the corner, it became priority number one to get trees cut and made into cabins that would last through the first winter.
All the work attracted the attention of some local Indian tribes. Friendly relations began immediately – as the settlers needed food, horses and information about the local terrain, and the Indians gained access to firearms, tools and protection. Our first settlers were able to procure horses and stores of potatoes that would help get them through the winter.
The Wapato tribe had a small village just up the river from the settlers.
The soil was fertile and the Wapato were very adept at growing fruit trees, potatoes and other native vegetable plants. Because of their location, this tribe had experience with white traders, with horses as the main currency. Like other Pacific Northwest Indians, the Wapato's displayed totem poles as a way to tell stories and tribal lore.
Indians in this region relied heavily on canoes for transportation because the dense forests made travel by land difficult.
The bounty of the land made frequent travel less necessary, so often tribes would stake out suitable land for a village and remain there for years.
With houses over their heads, food in their stores and friendly relations with their new neighbors, the settlers of New SorGun were as prepared as they could be for the first winter on their new land.
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