Place name: South Slough

For various reasons of history (like, who asked and who did the asking) few place names were ever recorded for Coos Bay’s South Slough.  Careful combing of Harrington’s notes, though, have turned up a few.  One of which is – what is the native, Milluk name for South Slough?  Melody Caldera, in researching South Slough, came up with “Witlitz” meaning ‘crossing over place’.  The meaning is correct, but not the Indian word.

It is witl’ich, where -ch is a locative marker, something like an English equivalent to ‘to, on, at’ and in contexts like this one ‘place’ (which is true for Milluk and Hanis both, and true for some locative affixes in Siuslaw/Umpqua).  Harrington got this from the Wasson sisters Lolly (Laurie) and Daisy, granddaughters of Milluk Chief Kitsanjinum and Gishgiu (‘Old Woman’, from the Upper Coquille).  Witl’– means ‘to go over, to step over’ also both in Milluk and Hanis; Lolly said here it meant to walk over a divide or hill.

Lottie Evanoff thought perhaps the name witl’ich meant upper South Slough, while Lolly thought it meant all of South Slough.  Lolly also gave the name Tlí´yamanii for Winchester Arm of South Slough.


About shichils

Just sharing some fun on language
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