Coquille Indian Tribe

Coquille Indian Tribe

The original Coquille Indians were called Mishikhwutmetunne, which is to say, "people living on the stream called Mishi." They were an Athabascan band, dating to 6,000 years ago, who lived in southwest Oregon on the east fork of the Coquille River. Their languages were Clatskanie, Umpqua and Coquille-Tolowa.The Coquille people resided in lean-to dwellings made of cedar planks. They subsisted on deer, fish (especially salmon) and acorns.In the early 19th century the tribe, which numbered about 8,000 members, contracted such diseases as smallpox and malaria from incoming white trappers. With no immunity to those exotic scourges, their population plummeted to several hundred.The trappers were followed shortly by land-hungry settlers and gold-hungry miners backed by U.S. Ultimately, the Coquille were forcibly removed from their lands and marched north to the Siletz Reservation in 1857.The Coquille commenced a long effort to seek redress from the government for the loss of their lands and by the 1940s managed to gain a measure of recompense in the U.S. Court of Claims in Washington, D.C. However, in 1954, House Concurrent Resolution 108 terminated the tribe's legal status with the federal government and they had to start all over. In 1989, the government finally reversed course and restored its recognition of the Coquille.


See also Indian Wars.Native American Cultural Regions Map


Coquille Indian Tribe

Currently the Coquille Indian Tribe has about 65 hundred acres, and 24 parcels in Coos County, Oregon. There Indian Reservation and Community Heath Center is located in Empire District of Coos Bay. The Federal recognition of the tribe in 1989 has since opened new doors for the Coquille. The tribe has established an economic development arm, the Coquille Economic Development Corporation, which has initiated a large number of ambitious projects. These include:

1. The Mill : The most visible is "The Mill," a casino on the North Bend waterfront, which will eventually provide 1,000 jobs. Established in 1995, The Mill Casino and Hotel is the largest of the tribes' businesses, employing nearly 600. A premier South Coast destination, The Mill Casino offers a winning combination of Nevada-style gaming, varied dining options, world-class entertainment and gracious accommodations, all in an atmosphere of Northwest-inspired comfort and friendly service.

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2: Coquille Cranberries: An organic cranberry-farming venture centrally located on reservation land, is perhaps the most culturally resonant of CEDCO's businesses, expressing both the Tribe's environmental beliefs and the importance of cranberries in Coquille history. Among the world's largest suppliers of 100% organic cranberries, these crops are both sold to commercial suppliers and marketed under the Coquille Cranberries label in fresh and dried forms, as well as preserves.



3: Heritage Place : The first entity to be established, Heritage Place — an assisted-living and Alzheimer's center located in the heart of the Coquille homeland in Bandon, Oregon — reflects the Tribe's commitment to elders and quality health care. Residents enjoy a homelike atmosphere and numerous activities along with state-of-the-art medical services.


The Coos language is dormant. It belongs to the Coosan language family, [2] and is divided into two dialects: Hanis language and Miluk language. [1] The Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw has a language program to revitalize the language. [2]

Their neighbors were Siuslauan, Kalapuyan, and the Umpqua Indians. The total population of Hanis and Miluk Coos in 1780 has been estimated to be around 2,000. [4]

On February 8, 1806 the Coos people were first mentioned by Euro-Americans. William Clark, wintering at Fort Clatsop near the Columbia with Meriwether Lewis and the Corp of Discovery, reported the existence of the "Cook-koo-oose nation". His journal entry stated: "I saw several prisoners from this nation with the Clatsops and Kilamox, they are much fairer than the common Indians of this quarter, and do not flatten their heads."

The Coos joined with the Umpqua and Siuslaw tribes and became a confederation with the signing of a Treaty in August 1855. In 1857, the U.S. Government removed the Coos Indians to Port Umpqua. Four years later, they were again transferred to the Alsea Sub-agency at Yachats Reservation where they remained until 1876. In 1876, the sub-agency was handed over to white settlement and the Indians were assigned to relocate to the Siletz Reservation, which created a major disruption among the tribal members. By 1937, their population had dwindled to 55. [5]

In 1972, Hanis and Miluk Coos, along with members of the Kuitsh and Siuslaw tribes, incorporated as the Coos Tribe of Indians. In subsequent years, they began providing food assistance for low-income families and established job placement and drug and alcohol abuse programs. [6]

There were 40–50 villages in the Coos tribes (they lived around the Coos bay and North Bend area). Most of them were hunters, fishermen, and gatherers. For entertainment, they held foot races, canoe races, dice (bone or stick) games, target ilu practice, and also shinny (field hockey). [7]

Several Oregon landmarks are named after the tribe, including Coos Bay, the city of Coos Bay, Oregon, and Coos County.


Coquille Indian Tribe - History

Tribal Constitution:

At tribe's website. Choose Consitution and the Coquille Indian Tribe.

Tribal Court Opinions:

At Casemaker ($$). Selected opinions of theCoquille Indian Tribal Court. 1999-2010.

At Indian Law Reporter (not available online). 1999, 2004. See NILL's cumulative subject index of tribal court cases in the ILR. (Abbreviations: Coquille Tr. Ct. Coquille Indian Tr. Ct. Colquille Indian Tr. Ct.)

At LexisNexis ($$). 1999, 2003-2004, 2009-2010.

At Westlaw ($$). American Tribal Law Reporter. Opinions issued by the tribal, appeals or supreme courts of American tribes, including Coquille Indian Tribe. 1999-

Other Legal Materials:

See NILL catalog records for other tribe materials.


Oregon's Tribes

For more about how this table is organized, see the Notes below.

  • Wadatika
  • Hunipuitöka
  • Cathlamet
  • Clatsop
  • Lower Chinook
  • Wahkiakum
  • Willapa
  • Clatsop
  • Nehalem
  • Hanis Coos
  • Miluk Coos
  • Lower Umpqua (Kuitsch)
  • Siuslaw
  • Coquille
  • Miluk Coos. Note: there was no sharp boundary between Coquille/Coos speakers See the tribe's web site for detail.
  • Cow Creek Takelmans
  • Several Upper Umpqua (Athabascan-speaking) bands including Upper Umpqua Targunsans and the Grave Creek Milwaletas.
  • (research needed)
  • (research needed)
    : The northernmost Kalapuyan tribe, on whose land Pacific University's Forest Grove & Hillsboro campuses sit.
  • Yamhill (Yamel)
  • Ahantchuyuk (Pudding River)
  • Luckiamute
  • Santiam
  • Chepenefa (Mary's River)
  • Chemapho (Muddy Creek)
  • Tsankupi (Calapooia River)
  • Mohawk (Mohawk River, OR unrelated to the Mohawks of NY)
  • Chafan (near Eugene)
  • Chelamela (Long Tom River)
  • Winefelly (Mohawk, McKenzie and Coast Forks of the Willamette River)
  • Yoncalla
  • Various Molalla bands, names unrecorded, from the west slopes of the Cascades bordering the Willamette Valley
  • Illinois River bands (Athabaskan-speakers)
  • Chasta Costa (Lower Rogue River, Athabaskan-speakers unrelated to the Irkirukatsu Shasta)
  • Takelma (Upper Rogue River)
  • Northern Shasta (Irkirukatsu Shasta)
  • Upper Umpqua River bands see more info
  • Members of other OR & WA tribes were also relocated to the Grand Ronde reservation in the 1800s, including:
    • Clackamas and other Chinookan-speakers
    • Klickitats
    • E&rsquoukskni (Upper Klamath Lake) bands
    • Plaikni (Sprague River) bands
    • Modoc bands
    • Yahooskin Band of Northern Paiutes
    • Alsea
    • Yaquina
    • Upper Coquille
    • Chasta Costa
    • Tututni, including the bands: Chemetunne, Chetleshin (Pistol River), Flores Creek, Mikonotunne, Naltunnetunne, Kaltsergheatunne (or Port Orford band of Kwatami), Sixes (Kwatami), Yukichetunne (Euchre Creek).
    • Applegate & Galice
    • Chetco & Tolowa
    • Upper Umpqua
    • Includes descendants of several Chinookan bands/tribes, e.g. Clatsops.
    • Hanis Coos
    • Miluk Coos
    • Descendants of Klickitats from north of the Columbia River who had moved south into Oregon in the 1820s-1850s, or were relocated onto Oregon reservations after the 1855 Klickitat War.
    • Various Molalla bands, names unrecorded, from the west slopes of the Cascades.
    • Dagelma
    • Latgawa
    • Cow Creek
    • Nehalem
    • Nestucca
    • Salmon River
    • Siletz
    • Tillamook Bay
    • Cayuse bands
    • Umatilla bands
    • Walla Walla bands
    • Wasco bands, including the Wascoes proper (a.k.a. Dalles Wasco), the Hood or Dog River Wascoes, and the Watlala (a.k.a. Cascades).
    • Wishram bands, including the Tlakluit and Echeloot
    • Dalles Tenino (a.k.a. Tinainu)
    • Dock-Spus (a.k.a. John Day Band)
    • Tygh (a.k.a. Upper Deschutes), including the Tayxɫáma (Tygh Valley), Tiɫxniɫáma (Sherar's Bridge) and Mliɫáma (present Warm Spring Reservation)
    • Wyam (Celilo Falls Band)
    • Northern Paiutes who were relocated after the Bannock War of 1878 and at other times.

    The Clatskanie were heavily affected by epidemics in the late 1700s-early 1800s. Survivors had merged with other tribes by the 1850s.

    Niimíipuu bands that originally lived in OR were removed to ID and WA in the late 1800s:

    • Chief Joseph Band of Nez Perce, originally from the Wallowas: now part of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in WA
    • Other Niimíipuu bands from OR became part of what is now the Nez Perce Tribe in ID

    After the Bannock War of 1878, Northern Paiutes from southeastern OR were split across multiple reservations. Their descendants are now part of tribes including:

    • Burns Paiute in OR (see above)
    • Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone, OR-NV border (see above)
    • Warm Springs in OR (see above) in ID in WA

    Many Native American tribes -- as well as other indigenous peoples from lands occupied by Western countries -- have made Oregon their home. A few of the organizations serving these communities include:


    Coquille Indian Tribe - History

    The Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians are made up of 3 tribes (4 Bands): 2 bands of Coos Tribes: Hanis Coos (Coos Proper), Miluk Coos Lower Umpqua Tribe and Siuslaw Tribe. Although both Coos bands lived in close proximity to one another on the Coos River tributaries, they spoke different dialects of the Coos language and had their own unique history and cultural differences. A days walk north from the Coos River, you found yourself in the Lower Umpqua territory with a much different spoken language that both the Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw bands shared the Siuslaw language.

    The diversity of languages and cultures you can find along the West Coast attests to the longevity these bands sustained for hundreds of generations in the lands they call home.

    The tribes trace their ancestry back to the aboriginal inhabitants of the South-Central coast of Oregon. Their historic homelands extended from the richly forested slopes of the Coastal Range in the East to the rocky shoreline of the Pacific Ocean in the West, a vast region of some 1.6 million acres. They lived peacefully in an area characterized by moderate temperatures and abundant natural resources, including fish, shellfish, wildlife, and a rich variety of edible plants. This was their land the Coos cosmology states that:

    Two young men from the Sky World looked down below, and saw only water. Blue clay they laid down for land, and tule mats and baskets they laid down to stop the waves from running over the land. Eagle feathers they planted, and they became trees. As they were thinking, it was happening. All kinds of vegetation grew animals came. The world became beautiful. The world became as it is now.

    The people lived in villages of cedar plank houses on the margins of the extensive estuaries of the Siuslaw, Umpqua, and Coos rivers. This is an area of rugged cliffs and open beaches, bordered by shifting sand dunes and steep, heavily vegetated mountainsides. Their villages tended to be autonomous to each other. Most people within a village were related to each other by blood or marriage. People often visited other villages for social occasions, and to trade. During the summers, they would move to hunting camps in the surrounding mountains. They also navigated the rivers, and mountain ridge trails, to trade with other villages or journey to the Willamette and Camas Valleys for certain prized foods.

    The Tribes had a distinct social stratification based on wealth measured in quantities of dentalium shells, woodpecker scalps, abalone shells, grey pine seeds, and clam shell disk money. The chief of the village was the wealthiest man. He was obligated to his people to use his wealth to benefit the people, and people in turn brought him food and gifts. The men of the village hunted and fished, made projectile points, canoes, traps and house planks. The women picked berries, dug for roots and clams, helped fish, wove baskets, processed hides, dried meat, sewed clothing and cooked the food. Those who were too elderly or ill to help in gathering or processing of food, were given food by everyone else in the village. Food was always shared, and no one went hungry.

    The Coos tribe lived on the southwest Oregon Pacific Coast. The Hanis speaking Coos lived in Now day North Bend, while the Miluk speaking Coos lived on the South Slough. Several Oregon landmarks are named after the tribe, the Coos Bay, the city of Coos Bay, and Coos County. Most of them were hunters, fishermen, and gatherers. For entertainment, they held foot races, canoe races, dice (bone or stick) games, target practice, and also nauhina’nowas (shinny). The Lower Umpqua people lived within the lower reaches of the Umpqua River watershed. They spoke the Kuitsch dialect of the Siuslawan language. The Siuslaw people lived within the Siuslaw River watershed which is named after them. They spoke the Siuslawan language. All three tribes lived in cedar longhouses. Men hunted and fished while Women collected berries, roots and nuts. In addition, their rich diet consisted of seafood, game, sea bird eggs and other delicacies. Deer and elk skins were fashioned into garments and blankets. Baskets were woven using a variety of materials, from conifers to grasses. Nearly everything was treated as having a spirit, and spirits could exert a positive influence on people's lives. Young people set out on vision quests, a rite of passage, to locate their spirit power. To become a shaman, one had to possess five powers.


    Coquille Indian Tribe

    The University of Oregon & The Coquille Indian Tribe and the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Tribes presented Native Opportunities Thursday, February 13, 2014 from 5:30 to 8:00 pm at the Community Center

    • 5:30 – 6:00 pm Blessing of Food and Dinner
    • 6:00 – 6:10 pm Registration, Welcome and Introductions
    • 6:10 – 7:10 Supporting Students for Higher Education (Parents) Melina Pastos, Academic Adviser
    • 6:10 – 7:10 The Admissions Process and Scholarships Opportunities (Students) Leilani Sabzalian, Academic Adviser
    • 7:10 – 7:30 Student panel: Current Native Students and Q & A with UO Opportunities Team
    • 7:40 – 8:00 Evaluation, Drawings, Wrap Up & Adjourn

    Special thanks to the attendees, to Chelsea Burns, Angela Bowen and all the community members who made this program /> possible. It is a true honor to work with everyone in this great Community.


    A deep dive into Coos County history

    Jun. 27—Over the last few months, I have used this space to write about the great outdoors. But as COVID restrictions lift, many of the indoor gems that have been locked down are starting to open again.

    Last week, I ventured into the Coos History Museum during its Juneteenth celebration. I took my 15-year-old with me to get a truly independent view, because I seem to fall in love with every place I visit.

    When you enter the museum, one of the first things you see is a sign that the museum goes way back when looking at history. In building its location, the museum got support from the Coquille Indian Tribe, and the entryway into the museum is a testament to the tribe.

    I thought that was a perfect way to open the museum because you can't look at the history of Coos Bay or Coos County without telling the story of the Coquille Indian Tribe and the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians. The native tribes were the first people here and their history is our history.

    At the entryway and in other exhibits inside the museum, the Indian tribes showcase handmade items used in day-to-day life long before the time of cell phones, microwaves and food delivery.

    The Tribes used what the land provided, and with that they captured fish, game, collected water, made clothes and much more. If you visit the museum, look closely at the items donated by the Tribes. They tell a story of their own.

    Anyone who has lived in Coos Bay for long gets an idea of the history — timber, ocean resources and agriculture played a large role during the early days of the community.

    All of those aspects and more can be seen in the museum as the story of Coos Bay and the region is brought to life.

    Directly in the front entrance is a large saw demonstrating how early mills cut through logs. That is followed with a replica boat, showcasing how early settlers got around on the rivers and even in the ocean.

    Slices of the major woods used in the timber industry tower over guests, showcasing the wood that employed, clothed and fed generations of Coos County residents.

    Several different handmade boats are on display, showcasing the style and skill that went into building craft that allowed for transportation and fishing during the earlier days of the region.

    Every part of the museum showcases a different aspect of the county's history. The ground floor is the permanent exhibit, which tells a variety of stories.

    One of my favorite things to read about and look over is the cranberry industry that continues to be a major economic engine in Bandon. I am intrigued by the cranberry industry largely because I know little about it. But reading about that part of the region, and especially seeing a creation built locally to harvest cranberries was one of my favorite things.

    One Juneteenth, perhaps the biggest draw was the display on Alonzo Tucker, and the story of his lynching in 1902. The museum highlights a lot of the good from our community, but it does a good job including the bad. During Juneteenth, a historical marker remembering Tucker and lynching in the United States was unveiled and will permanently be on display.

    The upper floor of the museum has changing exhibits. Currently, the exhibit showcases the A to Z of local history. Among the items on display are a variety of lights used to light bridges, a gun used to hunt whales, clothing and much more.

    One area that surprised me was a display showcasing dairy farms in history. I know there are some large dairy farms in Northern California, but I had no idea there were farms in Coos County in the past.

    The history of a community is vital, both in knowing where we came from and knowing what mistakes to avoid in the future. The Coos History Museum does an excellent job telling that story.

    The Coos History Museum is located at 1210 N. Front Street overlooking the Coos River. It is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Entry fees are $7 for adults and $3 for children with a family rate of $17 for up to six people. Museum members, active-duty military and children under 5 are free. The museum also opens its doors for free every second Saturday of the month.

    I enjoyed learning about the history of the community, and for the record, my 15-year-old thought it was "pretty cool," too.


    Human occupation of the coastal areas of the Coquelle dates back as far as 8,000 years, and 11,000 years in inland areas. Fish traps used on the lower Coquille River have been dated back at least 1,000 years. Extensive oral histories of the Coquille have been collected and preserved at the Coquille Indian Tribe Library in Coos Bay, Oregon. [3] [4]

    The Coquille fished in the tidewaters and estuaries along the Oregon coastline using fishing weirs and basket traps, and collected shellfish. [5]

    Modern scholars have documented an extensive network of trails, footpaths, and canoe routes that the Coquille people had developed by the time of contact by the North West Company's Alexander McLeod in 1826. [6]

    Mid-19th century to the present

    After the treaty of 1855, the Coquille people were forced to move to the Coastal Indian Reservation (now the Siletz Reservation). Today Coquille people may be part of one of two tribal entities: the Coquille Indian Tribe or the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz. [3] [7]

    The Coquille (Tututni), Takelma, Latgawa and Shasta peoples were in 19th century collectively known as Rogue River Indians.


    Cultural Coalitions

    Grant funds are allocated according to tribal cultural priorities.

    Other Cultural Coalitions:

    • Baker County Cultural Coalition
    • Benton County Cultural Coalition
    • Clackamas County Cultural Coalition
    • Clatsop County Cultural Coalition
    • Columbia County Cultural Coalition
    • Coos County Cultural Coalition
    • Crook County Cultural Coalition
    • Cultural Coalition of Washington County
    • Curry County Cultural Coalition
    • Deschutes Cultural Coalition
    • Douglas County Cultural Coalition
    • Grant County Cultural Coalition
    • Gilliam County Cultural Coalition
    • Harney County Cultural Coalition
    • Hood River Cultural Trust
    • Jackson County Cultural Coalition
    • Jefferson County Cultural Coalition
    • Josephine County Cultural Coalition
    • Klamath County Cultural Coalition
    • Lake County Cultural Coalition
    • Lane County Cultural Coalition
    • Lincoln County Cultural Coalition
    • Linn County Cultural Coalition
    • Malheur County Cultural Trust
    • Marion Cultural Development Corp
    • Morrow County Cultural Coalition
    • Multnomah County Cultural Coalition
    • Polk County Cultural Coalition
    • Sherman County Cultural Coalition
    • Tillamook County Cultural Coalition
    • Union County Cultural Coalition
    • Umatilla County Cultural Coalition
    • Wallowa County Cultural Coalition
    • Wasco County Cultural Coalition
    • Wheeler County Cultural and Heritage Coalition
    • Yamhill County Cultural Coalition

    Watch the video: Dr. Roberta Hall -- Portraits of Coquille People: Transitions and Tales, Sept. 5, 2017