The Cathlapotle Plankhouse is a full-scale Chinookan Plankhouse located on the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. It was built based on archaeological evidence from the Cathlapotle archaeological site located on the refuge property. This archaeological site is what remains of the town of Cathlapotle, a Chinookan town encountered by Lewis and Clark on their expedition.
The Plankhouse and the objects inside of it offer a tangible link to those who lived here in the past and provides a unique site for the interpretation of the natural and cultural heritage preserved on Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Washington.
The Plankhouse is typically open from Noon to 4:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from mid-April to October, and by special arrangement. As much as we would like to keep the Plankhouse open more, open hours are based on volunteer availability, so please check the calendar before making a trip out. The Plankhouse also offers various programs and workshops, check the calendar for a complete list of upcoming activities. We invite you to explore this web site and come out to the refuge to explore the Plankhouse.
The weekend of August 9th and 10th, experience traditional tools, technologies, language and art of Chinookan Peoples of the Lower Columbia River. As part of our annual Artist-In-Residence series, on August 9th local artist’s Local artists Greg Robinson (Chinook Indian Nation) and Greg Archuleta (Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde) will be in the Plankhouse demonstrating and exhibiting Chinookan art, basketry, carving and First Foods. Justin Robinson (Chinook Indian Nation) will be teaching and sharing Chinuk Wawa, the heritage language of Chinookan Peoples. On August 10th we will expand our gaze to explore technologies that have been used by Chinookan people and human ancestors around the globe such as archery, atlatl throwing, flintknapping (making arrowheads and other stone tools) and making fire by friction. Greg Robinson, Greg Archuleta, and Justin Robinson will also be in the house showcasing traditional art and language of Chinookan people. There will also be special activities for children all day. Participation in many of these demonstrations is encouraged!