A few Siuslaw place names

It’s leap day, that comes just once every four years. On the last leap day, I wrote about the indigenous name for Camas Valley. Maybe to create a leap year day tradition of writing about place names, I’ll write this year about a few inland Siuslaw place names.

The North Fork was called Qa’aich, meaning ‘entrance place’ referring to canoes turning from the mainstem river and entering North Fork/Qa’aich. There was a marshy point on the east side of this entrance called Huhúúna, named for the hooting of owls, pupuhunk’.

Up North Fork, at a site called Minerva there was a site called Ka’luuhuus, which means ‘deer snorting’.

Where the forks of Indian Creek meet was called Chamiita, from the Siuslaw word for whale, chammi. Frank Drew did not know why it was called that.

Swisshome was called Hauyat (no etymology given). There were rapids above and below it. The rougher one is above Hauyat, today sometimes called ‘the horn’ because they begin after rounding the horn. In Siuslaw it was called Qa’láxaihlta, meaning ‘it is rattling’ which was named for the sound of the water hitting the rocks. Drew commented it was a dangerous place in winter and people had capsized canoes there. The rapids below Swisshome were called K’umyuus.


About shichils

Just sharing some fun on language
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