The Dalles in Wasco County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
Trade Center for 10000 Years
Scholars have noted that the trade center at the Dells was unparalleled elsewhere in North America. By the late 1700s, trade goods supplied by European and American maritime fur traders could be purchased at the "Great Mart" at the Dalles of the Columbia River. As Lewis and Clark approached the Dalles they could see the impact of European trade goods on the local people. The journals mention scarlet and blue cloth, blankets, sailors jackets, a musket, sword, and brass kettles.
The most significant center of trade in North America had produced a culture of inspired traders along the mid-Columbia. 10,000 years of presiding over annual trade gatherings had made Wishram, Wasco and other native people wealthy. As well established middlemen, the local people controlled the flow of goods up and down the river.
The leaders of the expedition did not understand that the people of the Dalles were powerful businessmen who did not want to be challenged by these foreigners. Lewis and Clark also did not understand that the meager trade goods remaining in the expedition's cargo were unimpressive to such wealthy people. When the captains complained about prices and were impudent with the slow pace of trade, the local people responded negatively. The expedition members became "note (?) friends" and the rules of trade changed to a competition for gaining advantage, not to trade goods of equal value. Non-friends also were considered trespassers on the local trade route. Paying of a toll was expected and would be taken if not offered.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Anthropology & Archaeology • Exploration • Industry & Commerce • Native Americans. In addition, it is included in the Lewis & Clark Expedition series list.
Location. 45° 36.41′ N, 121° 11.277′ W. Marker is in The Dalles, Oregon, in Wasco County. Marker can be reached from West 1st Street near Union Street, on the right when traveling west. This marker is located at Rock Fort. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 801 West 1st Street, The Dalles OR 97058, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker . The White Man Legend (here, next to this marker); Importance of Salmon (here, next to this marker); The Lewis & Clark Expedition (a few steps from this marker); Archaeology of Lewis & Clark (a few steps from this marker); Establishing Rock Fort (a few steps from this marker); Rumor of Attack (a few steps from this marker); The Mill Creek Tunnel (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Original Wasco County Courthouse (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in The Dalles.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 21, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 21, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 54 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 21, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.