This blog is mostly about the Hanis Coos language (though subject to change over time), as well as Milluk and Siuslaw/Lower Umpqua with occasional digressions about Chinook Jargon, Alsea, Tillamook, SW Oregon Athabaskans and other Native language digressions from time to time.

This blog is strictly my opinions or thoughts. The work on my blog doesn’t represent any official tribal governments or entities. Just me.

A little bit about me:  I studied linguistics at University of Oregon, graduated with a master’s in 1996, I love indigenous languages and our stories and storytelling, and ethnobotany.

Feel free to post questions etc. in the comments.

-Patty Whereat Phillips

11 Responses to About

  1. Nan MacDonald says:

    Hey Patty, Nan MacDonald here. Love your Blog ! Question Please. Can you share with me how the Crow or Raven fits into Coos or Milluk Mythology/Traditions ? Much Thanks

    • shichils says:

      Hi Nan – not much is said about Raven (I can only recall raven appearing in one story, noting he eats bad smelling things). Crow was said to know what people were thinking and could tell people what was happening. Some people had crow as their power. THere is also the ‘Crow and Thunderbird’ story, where Crow and Thunder trade languages and Thunder creates tides.

  2. Nan MacDonald says:

    I ask because we have just settled in at a new weaving studio on Riverside Drive in Bandon. Just down the road from the Nasoma Village site. I have students who are both Coquille and Coos and of course a combination of both. First day I arrived a Crow flew right smack in front of me before I even got out of the car. I knew that was a sign … perhaps a Nasoma/CIT ancestor saying “hummmm what ya all up up too here” ! The Crow has begun to leave a feather or two and visit often. One from the other night was not meant for me ..but someone else .. not an Indian from here, but from another place ~ she did not like the feather when she saw it, and I thought “well, maybe it was just a way for the old ones to say “hey you, were around, this is our old country and we are watching to see whats going on here” !!

  3. Stacy says:

    Thank you for posting the detailed story of Gregory point where the Cape Arago Lighthouse is. I recently stumbled upon this place. I went to Sunset Bay with my family. We hiked north of the bay and made our way to the lighthouse. We did not know that the property was off limits and we certainly did not know that it would be so difficult to traverse the trails and epic cliff views. We realized that we could not make it to the lighthouse when we saw that the footbridge was m.i.a. I saw the native burial site and respected the chains and area so as not to disturb or disrespect the site. While my son and husband walked around I went on my own near the large platform east of the burial site. I heard a women talking and at the time I thought there were campers or hikers near by. I did not know the site was off limits. I heard a woman say “Masegashe Masegashe” and some other words. It was so loud that I thought it was next to me. I played it off as hikers or campers until we walked towards the road and found the lighthouse to be protected by the coast guard. Then I realized I had heard something or someone the was not here in our present reality. Your WordPress was the only history I could find of the area online.

    • shichils says:

      Thanks for respecting the cemetery area (not everyone is so thoughtful!) Baldicha is an amazing place, both beautiful but sad too, because of its history.

      • Stacy says:

        Yes, there is sadness there. The history of the lighthouse is an interesting read as well. Your site has some of the best information on it. The history of the natives is not well documented on the internet. I have found some helpful youtube videos and book recommendations. I am living in Roseburg and the Umpqua, as you know, were the natives here (aka Cow creek indians?) Since visiting Coos Bay I have become very interested in the native culture. For many thousands of years this was their land.

    • shichils says:

      There isn’t much info on line, I guess, and not much in print either. There is a lot of information in unpublished sources. I don’t know the exact line between the Athabaskan speaking Upper Umpqua and the Cow Creek people were, but I think Roseburg proper was the site of Upper Umpqua villages. The Cow Creek people live just south of there. Their native language is Takelma, and the tribe is working on that language today.
      My dad compiled all of his essays into a book which has been posted online here: http://www.yachats.info/history/Indigenous/Our_Culture_&_History.pdf

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  6. Mikayla says:

    Hey Patty,

    I’m a student of David Lewis and throughout the term I will be researching the Siuslaw. Right now I am working on their oral histories and myth texts. I’m having difficulty finding online sources for them and was hoping you have some suggestions or pdfs to share.

    Later in the term I’ll need sources on their land stewardship and seasonal rounds, food and medicinal plants, and basketry and weaving arts. If you have anything relevant to those topics as well, that would be appreciated.

    I’ve read a few of your sources already: “Ethnobotoany of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians”, “Siuslaw and Kuitsh: Native Americans of the Oregon Coast.” (LCC), and the culture and history pdf on this blog. I’ve also read through the history section on ctclusi.org (which David and I are guessing you wrote, there’s no author listed).

    Any help is appreciated,

    • shichils says:

      Hi, there is not much online – or in print – even archival material is annoying spotty for Siuslaw. There are some baskets id’d as Siuslaw in the Phoebe Hearst at UC Berkeley. The twining style & materials are very similar to Coos Bay. Only difference I know of, is Coos Bay is quirky in often using a down to the right twining direction, and Siuslaw and Lower Umpqua more typically use the up to the right direction.
      Leo Frachtenberg’s published texts – Coos Texts, Lower Umpqua Texts and Alsea Texts – are on the blog side bar (links to scans of them from Google Books). I know I found in Harrington’s 1942 notes people said The Five Thunders in Alsea Texts was known to the Siuslaw too, and the last story in that book, “The Runaway Couple” is a Siuslaw story US Grant knew. There are also at least 2 Siuslaw stories I know of in Coos Texts – The Five Grizzly Brothers (which mostly takes place at Heceta Head, known to the Siuslaw as Hltuuwis) and “The Man who married the Bird” (which has a parallel Lower Umpqua story, which is the last story in Lower Umpqua Texts). The Hanis Coos storyteller, Jim Buchanan, lived with and among Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw speakers for most of his life (and he spoke that language too, but rarely used it with ethnographers) and he did tell several stories from both communities. Because they are in a book labelled “Coos Texts”, and the fact that Frachtenberg didn’t draw attention to the geography of the stories, people often miss that there are LU and S stories in there.
      I think the Siuslaw-Umpqua people also had their own versions of the World Transformer epic which is in Alsea Texts. S’uku is, interestingly, a Siuslaw-Umpqua name, not an Alsea one. (Alsea does not have words with an s followed by a glottal stop, but Siuslaw does).
      I have a spreadsheet where I’ve been tucking in references i find to seasonal rounds you can email me at miluk.language@gmail.com

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