Heceta Head

So a year ago, state parks was thinking about putting new interpretive signs at Cape Creek and Heceta Head. I gave them the Siuslaw name for Heceta Head, but ultimately they chose not to put up a sign on Native history and culture of the area (although they might in the future). That’s sad, because Heceta appears in both Siuslaw and Alsea legends and few visitors know anything about it.

The area around Cape Creek and Heceta Head was known in the Siuslaw language as Hltuuwis. Its Alsea name is essentially the same – hltuuwaisk or tltuuwaisk (in Alsea the phonemes hl/tl alternate, and the -k is a locative suffix in that language).

Cape creek had (and maybe still has) a coho run. There was a Siuslaw camp there where they not only fished but also hunted for sea lions and collected sea bird eggs from the offshore rocks there.

In legend, it was the site of much of ‘The Five Grizzly Bear Brothers’. The grizzly brothers were eating people, so they were tricked into coming to Heceta Head and killed, their bodies tossed off the cliff (except for the youngest brother who escaped to Waldport, who was then killed by Wren Woman).

Some other names in the region: ponnik was a camp site to the south of Sea Lion Caves. Hu’wiina, meaning ‘high dark place’ was the regional name for Cape Mountain and Heceta Head, and the name refers to the rise of the cliffs and mountain at the north end of the sand dunes.



About shichils

Just sharing some fun on language
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3 Responses to Heceta Head

  1. It is sad that the traditional names didn’t make it on the signs. Wish I had more influence on the US Forest Service who had the ultimate say on the panels. You’ve now inspired me to make sure this information is somewhere in the park before I retire!

    • shichils says:

      Oh I forgot to mention that I did ask the Parks folks about the signs & she said they may yet do it in future, something about when current restroom is torn down and moved (if I remember correctly).

  2. Pingback: Another version of the Grizzly Bear story | Shichils's Blog

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