Category Archives: History

Puzzles in the First Coosan Wordlist, 1856

In autumn of 1856, physician John J. Milhau was stationed at Fort Umpqua. At the time he was a young man of 28, and had been raised and educated in New York City. He wrote down word lists of what … Continue reading

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Tattooing of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw

Tattooing was a traditional art in many Native American communities, and in recent years many tribes have been reviving these customs. I’ll focus primarily on Coos Bay, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw (CLUS) tattoos in this post, along with what information … Continue reading

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Dentalium

Dentalium are white, tusk shaped shells that have been valued as money and beads for millenia among Native people. The usual dentalium people preferred in Oregon was a species known as Dentalium pretiosum. They are a kind of snail, living … Continue reading

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Do Grizzly Bears eat camas?

I recently finished retranslating the story “Night Rainbow Old Woman” (told by Jim Buchanan to Leo Frachtenberg and published in Coos Texts).  In the first part of the story, two of Night Rainbow Old Woman’s family sees camas bulbs spread … Continue reading

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Kate’s beautiful baskets

photo from Phoebe-Hearst, UC Berkeley The basket above is a very beautiful one that is in the same collection at Berkeley as the basket caps I wrote about in yesterday’s post. EDITED TO ADD: Nan MacDonald pointed out that in … Continue reading

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Umpqua River, 1850-51

Captain Albert Lyman was captain of the ship Samuel Roberts which briefly explored the Rogue and Umpqua Rivers in 1850.  He settled on the Umpqua for a year or two, kept a journal and made some sketches.  Photos of the sketches are … Continue reading

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Scholfield writes about Siuslaw River, May 1854

Nathan Scholfield, and his son Socrates, were early settlers of Umpqua City. They came from Norwich, Connecticut.  This is the family that Scholfield creek on the Umpqua River is named for. Nathan Scholfield did a few surveys in the Umpqua … Continue reading

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