Place name of the day: Shuutlits, the burned-place village

Along the ‘upper’ part of Coos Bay, there once was a rock named by early white settler’s Dewey’s rock (after some white guy named Dewey.  What are the odds?), and there was a nice little cove there.  Sadly the rock was destroyed long ago, first by a sawmill demolishing part of it to but a boiler on top of it.   Roughly, the site is on Highway 101 near Mack’s Saw Shop & the Pancake Mill.

Once there was a village there called Shuutlits, which the Indian people always translated as ‘burned place’.  There are several different words in Hanis Coos for ‘fire’, ‘to burn’ etc.  This village name was derived in particular for the verb shuutl– meaning ‘to burn, to set fire’; and generally implies a fire a lot bigger than a hearth fire.  Another word derived from this verb, shu’wetl’, means ‘brush fire, conflagration’.

The usual Hanis word for fire (like a camp fire or fire in a hearth) is ch’wehl.  Interestingly, St Clair once recorded another word for fire, ya’at, which he said meant ‘a fire to heat cooking rocks’.  I suppose a fire for heating cooking rocks might be bigger than a typical camp fire – indeed I wonder if it expressly meant the fires built in large earth ovens to heat the rocks placed in the bottom of the oven.


About shichils

Just sharing some fun on language
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2 Responses to Place name of the day: Shuutlits, the burned-place village

  1. sofcis says:

    these little notes are the best way to start the morning.
    well, maybe a close second to coffee. but you get
    the idea.

    • shichils says:

      I dunno, few things can beat a good cuppa coffee in the morning. 🙂 Makes me think…some people claim that myrtle nuts have a quality like caffeine that gives a person pep. I don’t know if that is true or not. I’ve never noticed an effect, but I’ve only ever eaten a few at any one time anyway. They do have a trippy coffee & chocolate flavor tho…(tree mocha! mmm!). I gotta go out and see how the myrtle nuts are coming along – last couple of years there have been very few ripened nuts here in Sonoma Valley. Maybe this year will be a good year. Then I will have to try an experiment – can myrtle nuts wake you up? Hmmmm.

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