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Two Coast Salish women traveling in a canoe. Courtesy Paul Dorpat.

The earliest stories of the Lake Washington and Seattle area come from the deep past. Archaeological and physical evidence shows the first people in the Puget Sound region over 13,000 years ago. Tribal narratives, passed from generation to generation, indicate that their ancestors’ arrival dates back farther.

The stories of these times are not written in the journals and records of historic times, but in oral traditions and the materials left behind over time. Like history, these sources do not always agree and offer different perspectives on life in the past.

What is well known is that the Native peoples of the Puget Sound region lived here for hundreds of generations prior to the first Europeans arriving in this area. Their daily lives were rich and complex, from hunting now-extinct giant mammals to learning and teaching the intricate ways of making foods, shelter, medicine and other necessities of life from the plants and animals in their midst.