Project Name:

Blue-Bead Specials: The Columbia River Trading Center 200 Years Later

Location of Project:

Portland and The Dalles/Hood River, Oregon

Lead Sponsor:

Organization Name

Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory and partners

Contact Name/Title

Larry McClure, Coordinator, Lewis & Clark Education Programs


101 SW Main, Suite 500





[email protected]


Other Sponsors:

Trade, manufacturing and commerce-related organizations (e.g. bank), Oregon tribes, regional tribes, E-Bay or other Internet enterprise, Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Council for Economics Education, Portland Art Museum, Junior Achievement.

Project Description:

Oregon K-12 students will learn basic economics using their own state's Lewis & Clark setting as the model. The falls of the Columbia along Oregon's north central border were an important trading center for centuries. Salmon were the main commodity for local tribes whose commercial networks stretched north, south, east, and west. The Corps already recognized the economic value of blue beads as they bartered for food, supplies, souvenirs, and services. This two-year pilot project will challenge Oregon students to design, manufacture and trade their own distinctive blue beads (or other product) on-line.

Project Budget:



Funded to Date:

$ None


This project (with nationwide possibilities) has the potential for attracting diverse support from private for-profit and nonprofit sectors alike. More valuable to schools is the oppor-tunity to link with community experts in market analysis, design, banking, sales, distribution.

Project Status:

The Oregon experiment addresses education standards in social studies, technology, science, art, writing, and historical research appropriate to the grade levels/classrooms choosing to participate.


    Primary Category:     _ R/H     _ P/T     _ I     _ CD     _ C/N     X ED     _ E     _ O

    Type:     _ Fed     _ State     _ Local     _ Tribal     X Multi-Agency     _ Private     _ Pub/Priv     _ Other

    Status:     X Proposed     _ Underway     _ Finished

Priority Ranking: within State/Tribe/Agency: # ____ out of ____.

Other Comments:

This project is well suited for partnerships with local tribal organizations that can share their cultural perspective in the planning and manufacturing of each school's trade goods. E-commerce brings a new dimension to the trading of beads (or Pokemon/sports cards) which should appeal to students today.

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Lewis & Clark Bicentennial in Oregon
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Portland, OR  97205-2483
email address: [email protected]

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