Neah Bay, WA and the Makah Tribe
Welcome from the Makah Tribe. We call ourselves “Kwih-dich-chuh-ahtx” or “people who live by the rocks and seagulls”. The name “Makah“, which was given to us by our neighboring tribes, means “generous with food”. We have lived at the most northwestern point in what is now the contiguous United States since the beginning of time. For thousands of years we have hunted whales and seals and fished in the great waters which border our home. Throughout our history, the great Western Red Cedar tree has provided the material from which we have housed and clothed ourselves. Cedar has also provided the means by which we have fed ourselves by providing material for canoes and tools. Historically, our people lived in a community comprised of five permanent villages. The villages were Bahaada, Deah (present day Neah Bay), Waatch, Sooes and Ozette.
The Museum at the Makah Tribe Cultural and Research Center
In 1970 tidal erosion uncovered an ancient whaling village at Ozette, parts of which had been covered by a mud slide hundreds of years ago. The subsequent artifacts which were found have now classified Ozette as one the most significant archaeological discoveries ever made in North America! In 1979 the Makah Tribe Cultural and Research Center opened to the public in order to share this great find. This nationally recognized museum features full scale replicas of cedar long houses as well as whaling, sealing and fishing canoes. There are approximately one percent of the 55,000 artifacts recovered from Ozette on display. These artifacts are between 300-500 years old. With the discovery at Ozette came “affirmation” of our heritage, in the tradition of our ancestors we are teaching the Makah language as well as learning to write it. We have many crafts people and artisans who make long houses, canoes, totems, masks, basketry, clothing and jewelry. Many of our legends are preserved through oral tradition descended from our families, through the songs we sing and the dances we perform. Visitors are welcome to celebrate our heritage together.
The Village of Neah Bay
Most services and housing of the Makah people are located in the present day fishing village of Neah Bay. Our cultural events as well as our seafaring economy are centered here. The new Makah Marina harbors over 200 commercial and sport fishing vessels as well as pleasure craft. The village and marina support numerous small businesses, all of which are open to visitors. Visit the Chamber of Commerce for more information.
The Natural Environment
The journey from U.S. Highway 101 to the Makah Tribe Reservation along State Routes 112 or 113 is an experience not to be missed. Drive through forested landscapes and travel along the Strait of Juan de Fuca where you may see whales surfacing during their migration or glimpse eagles on the hunt.
The forested mountains and hills in combination with a rugged, irregular coastline make our home the most beautiful and breathtaking place on the Pacific Coast. View the Pacific Ocean and Tatoosh Island from the Cape Flattery Trail lookout. The spectacular rocky headlands of our coast can be seen from many vantage points, and the sandy beaches at Neah Bay and Hobuck are perfect for a range of recreational activities.
The beautiful Wa’atch and Tsoo Yess Rivers wind through the valleys eventually finding their way to Makah Bay on the Pacific Ocean. In addition, you will find a variety of plant life and wildlife. The Olympic National Marine Sanctuary and the Flattery Rocks National Wildlife Refuge harbor a diverse collection of animals, especially birds. Over 239 species of birds are found in the area. Some species are here throughout the year and while others use habitat here during the migration season. Here in our ancestral home, you can see and experience our ancient connection to nature.
Other Attractions and Things to Do:
Makah National Fish Hatchery – Located on the Tsoo Yess River, the Hatchery is designed for and welcomes public viewing of salmon migrating over the fish ladders to spawn in the hatchery facility.
Sport Fishing and Pleasure Boating – Sport fishing for salmon and bottom fish in the saltwater which surround us in now considered to be the best in the contiguous United States. Charter boats and private fishing and pleasure craft dot Neah Bay’s picturesque harbor during the busy summer months. Hobuck Lake and the Wa’atch and Tsoo Yess Rivers are popular fishing sites for rainbow and cutthroat trout. Steelhead can also be taken from the rivers when in season and with the appropriate permits.
Annual Makah Days Celebration – The grand parade, street fair, canoe races, traditional “slahal” games, dancing, singing , feasting and a spectacular fireworks show are all part of Makah Days. This celebration is held every year towards the end of August. Come and join the festivities!
Surfing – Hobuck Beach offers over a mile of beach for surfing.
Check these links for conditions:
Around the Region – Take a Day Trip to other Olympic National Park attractions, as well as the nearby towns of Forks and Port Angeles.