The Northwest's abundance of resources allowed indigenous people to develop a rich culture of artistic, religious and ceremonial traditions.The region's exclusively male artists specialized in distinctive carvings that depicted animal, monster and human forms. An animal species was distinguished by one or two prominentfeatures. These tall, cylindrical objects were carved from a tree trunk and indicated their owners' prestige.The religion of the Northwest Native Americans was closely tied to nature. Shamans honed their skills by going on frequent retreats and practicing sexual and dietary abstinence.Much ritual activity focused on food. Another key ceremony was the hamatsa dance. Though Potlatches were more secular by nature, they were also important rituals that dealt with wealth and social organization.
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