Lifestyle

The Klallam lived off the land and the water given to them by the creator.  They traveled mainly by cedar dugout canoes, but also had many trails.  They had runners that delivered messages from village to village.  The messengers would literally run the trails between villages to pass along news and announcements to other bands of Klallam.

 

A common misperception is that the Klallam did not travel into the mountains. Klallam families traveled up and over the Olympic Mountains to gather medicinal plants, berries, bear grass, and cattails, as well as to hunt for bear, deer, and elk.  Villages were on the shores of the Straits, as well as upriver.  Some areas were occupied on a seasonal basis, and some places year-round.  The Elwha River was a natural byway for subsistence activities, and also for social gatherings. 

One Klallam mother hiked up the Elwha and over to Taholah at the mouth of the Quinault River every summer with her five children to visit relatives.  The Klallam considered the Olympic Mountains sacred, and revered the mountains' glory.