Some more Coos names for the Yachats region

When the Coos Bay & Lower Umpqua people were removed to Yachats they either learned Alsea place names for landmarks, or more often, coined their own names for landmarks.

In the last post we already discussed the Coos name for Cook’s chasm.

Less than a mile north of Yachats river is Starr Creek.  The Coos people called it tk’imiis.  No etymology was given, and it might be a name borrowed from the Alsea.

North of there (but still south of Big Stump) is Big Creek.  The Coos people called it minikmenkiich or menkichinuu, based on the verb menk- to club.  The name referred to clubbing coho salmon.  People camped there in the fall to fish (and club) coho.  Lottie Evanoff described it thus: “Nothing but silver salmon [coho] come into creek south of big stump.  Lottie’s dad [Chief Doloos Jackson] speared silver salmon in the breakers at the mouth of this creek when they were trying to come in from the ocean into mouth of this creek.  They are bright when coming in from the ocean but after they’ve been in creek they lose their bright color and get red.”

Big Stump (an ancient redwood at Big Stump beach) was called kiwixkiwx meaning a dodging or jumping around place.  The name referred to the tradition that when someone passed by the stump, one went around the stump 5 times and left a gift inside it, like some white shells or a handkerchief.  The story  we learned from the Alsea is that the stump was placed there by Hummingbird and Bumblebee after they had traveled the world to help decide which way the sun should travel.

South of Yachats is Bob Creek.  Once, some Coos people found an Alsea man who had died there, and they buried him near the creek.  So ever after they called the area qenchuuye’me tsxuuwiich meaning ‘Alsea Lying down place’.

There is another Big Creek, which is south of Tenmile Creek (and comes out at Roosevelt Beach/Muriel O Ponsler wayside) which the Coos people called ntsogwolda or tsogulda, from the Hanis and Milluk word for steelhead (tsgwa’al).  They said that more steelhead went up that creek than any other, and many Indians headed there from Yachats to fish for them from January to March.


About shichils

Just sharing some fun on language
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