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Chinook Country, Alberta Canada

While Chinook is a country, it was named after the Chinook tribe (Northern Indians). It’s a country renowned for its strong southern wind which blows across the Columbia River.

The tribe also came because of the famous wind known as snow eater in the local language. The country located in Southern Alberta receives up to 35 Chinooks- the famous wind annually.

The wind lasts for hours or even days. Its unique feature is the fact that it’s a dry wind with an ability to raise the temperature to 41 degrees Celsius in an hour.

Its located between the Great Plains and the Canadian Prairies mountains. The convergence zone in relation to the westerly winds from the west pacific oceans explains the strong winds blowing over the area.

Imagine a combination of winds from the Columbia River and the convergence zone. The warm wind from the oceans rises over the mountains while the cold winds from an inland blow over the land, creating a frontal region.

History and culture

Their location, the river, and the ocean contributed to the fact that most of their activities revolved around water.

Their main economic activities included canoe building, fishing, and navigation. It’s an art they mastered to a point the fish was a form of currency- barter trade. 

The North American Indians used the waters as trade routes to navigate between continents, especially of Indian origin. They traded in ornaments, dried fish, canoes, and slaves.

Culturally, they valued the family as a social unit. The smallest unit was the village headed by a senior member of the society under a powerful chief who had control of many communities.

The wooden houses never missed the raised boards with reed mats placed on it as a bed.

The rampant slave trade saw the flattening of the baby’s heads as a sign of a child from a prominent family who can’t engage in the slave trade. It’s the current family classification (strata) practiced among the Indians to date.

Tradition and religion

Chinookians believed in the passage of rites and cultures. Some of the mandatory ceremonies they practiced include.

  • Salmon rite
  • Vision quest
  • Potlatches

Salmon rite was as a result of the fishing escapades.

Every year they had to welcome the salmon run. Secondly, the vision quest was explicitly to acquire a guardian spirit to aid in hunting and bringing fortunes out in the wild.

Lastly, the potlatches were to appreciate neighbors, family, and friends. Funny enough, they never engaged in war.

They preferred to use this ceremony as a conflict resolution strategy.

Chinooks came into public limelight after American explorers discovered their existence. It was peaceful since they were traders; they had an idea of goods from the whites and the race.

Interesting facts

Chinook wind occurs at any time of the year, irrespective of the season. Its unique feature is its ability to raise the temperature within 24 hours by up to 40 degrees Celsius.

The reason it’s called snow water is that in case it occurs during the winter season, the entire blanket of snow melts away.

Others view it as a blessing, while others look at it as a curse depending on the time of the year. Its strength is such that it can overturn an empty trailer. Although there is no scientific evidence, at times, it brings about migraines.

Although there is scientific proof in the wind systems, the native had several myths and legends about Chinook wind.

Currently, the heavy machine helicopters have their origin from the Chinook country. The famous Boeing CH-47 (Chinook Cargo Helicopter) takes pride in this country with a history of myths, legends, and traditions. If you can fly a helicopter over such wind, be sure it’s an aircraft that can withstand all weather conditions.

What now hosts Washington and Oregon has a rich history to tell generations as far as culture, tradition and drastic weather pattern is concerned.

To maintain the rich history and culture, several organizations are in existence to live to tell the tale.