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Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus Poster

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Due in part to the richness of Pacific Northwest coast and river fisheries some of the indigenous peoples developed complex sedentary societies while remaining hunter-gatherers. The Pacific Northwest Coast is one of the few places where politically complex hunter-gatherers evolved and survived to historic contacts, and therefore has been vital for anthropologists and archaeologists seeking to understand how complex hunter and gatherer societies function. When Europeans first arrived on the Northwest Coast they found one of the world's most complex hunting and fishing societies, with large sedentary villages, large houses, systems of social rank and prestige, extensive trade networks, and many other factors more commonly associated with societies based on domesticated agriculture. In the interior of the Pacific Northwest the indigenous peoples, at the time of European contact, had a diversity of cultures and societies. Some areas were home to mobile and egalitarian societies. Others, especially along major rivers such as the Columbia and Fraser, had very complex, affluent, sedentary societies rivaling those of the coast.