Native Americans in the

Coos County Area

A Pathfinder for Coos County, Oregon


Although European settlement in Coos County, Oregon is 150 years old, Native Americans have inhabited the region for thousands of years. The record of this heritage is found in archaeological sites, in museums, in writings and recordings of tribal members and in the present practice of their culture by many tribal members. While life was very different from life today, locals recognize names and places easily.   

To find out more information about the Native Americans in the Coos County area, follow the links on this pathfinder. It will help you find information in the library, on the Internet and in the community about the Native Americans who lived in Coos County. You will discover how their lives have changed as they have adapted to a new culture and people.

Books Magazines
Internet Sites
Videos CD-ROM
Dewey Numbers
Keywords Phrases
State Standards
Print Resources-Books and Magazines

There are several excellent books about the Native Americans who lived in Coos County that are available from the Coos Bay and North Bend Public Libraries. A few of the books are listed below. To locate more books, use the suggested keywords and phrases to search the online library catalogs.

921 BAR Barber, Olive. The lady and the lumberjack. New York : Crowell , 1952. 
Describes the lumbering trade in Coos County. Contains good descriptions of what Coos County was like in the early days of the lumber trade. For those familiar with Olive Barber Road and Overland Drive, this book will explain the history of these road names.
ORE 979.5 BAU Baun, Carolyn M. The First Oregonians : an illustrated collection of essays on traditional lifeways, federal-Indian relations, and the state's native people today. Portland, Ore : Oregon Council for the Humanities, 1991. 
This book looks at Oregon History just before Euro-Americans arrived to explore, trade and settle focusing on four geographic regions: the Coast, Columbia Plateau, Interior Valleys and Great Basin.
970.004 BEC Beckman, Stephen Dow. The Indians of western Oregon : this land was theirs. Coos Bay : Arago Books , 1977. 
Includes biographical information and index.
ORE 979.5 CLA Clark, Elle A. Indian legends of the Pacific Northwest.
ORE 979.523 COO Coos County : the early years / The World and the Coos County Historical Society; Kathy Erickson, editor. Portland, OR : Pediment Publishing, c1998.
A photographic glimpse of the early days in Coos County depicting lifestyles of an earlier history.
970.4 DEL Deloria, Vine. Indians of the Pacific Northwest : from the coming of the white man to the present day. New York : Doubleday , 1977.
A history of the tribes of the Pacific Northwest from the coming of the white man to the present day.

811.51 DOU Douthit, Nathan. South coast.  Eastside, Or. : Erik & Ann Muller, c1974.

Coos writers series #5.
ORE 979.5 DOU Douthit, Nathan. The Coos Bay region, 1890 - 1944.  Coos Bay, Or. : River West Books, c198x.
A definitive book on frontier life along the Southern Oregon coast, with a written history going back to the 1890's and an abundance of pictures. Readers get a glimpse of early commerce, transportation, the shipping and logging industries, town life in Coos Bay and North Bend, county life, foreign-born settlers, life during World War I, and the Age of the 1920's.
979.5 Dou Douthit, Nathan. A guide to Oregon south coast history : including an account of the Jedediah Smith exploring expedition of 1828 and its relations with the Indians.  Coos Bay, Or. : River West Books, c1986. 
970.3 HAL Hall, Roberta .L. The Coquille Indians : yesterday, today and tomorrow.  Lake Oswego, Or. : Smith, Smith and Smith Publishing , 1984. 
Assumes the tribe is a long-term but dynamic entity that has a past and a future that differ from the present. 
ORE 979.523 HAL Hall, Roberta L. Oral traditions of the Coquille Indians. 1978.
979.523 HAL Hall, Roberta L. People of the Coquille Estuary : native use of resources on the Oregon coast : an investigation of cultural and environmental change in the Bandon area employing archaeology, ethnology, human biology, and geology. Corvallis, Or. : Words and Pictures Unlimited , 1995.
Includes biographical indexes.
979.5 IND Indians of Oregon : past and present. St. Clair, MI : Somerset Publishers, c1999.
A history of the tribes of the Oregon.
ORE 979.5 MID Middleton, Lynn. Place names of the Pacific Northwest coast.
ORE 979.5 PET Peterson, Emil R. Century of Coos and Curry: history of southwest Oregon. Coos Bay, Or. : Coos Cooperative Library Service , 1952.
ORE 979.5 RIC Rickard, Aileen Barker. The Goulds of Elkhorn. Cottage Grove, Or.  : Mrs. Edgar Rickard , 1982. 
Describes frontier and pioneer life in Coos County. 
979.523 RIC Rickard, Aileen Barker, 1910 -. Seventh Son. Cottage Grove, Or. : Aileen Rickard, c2001.
979.5 SOU South Slough adventures : life on a Southern Oregon estuary.  ??? : ??? , ????.
The nation's first National Estuarine Sanctuary or Reserve was originally a mode of transportation for early travelers going up and down the coast. This book deals with the beginning history of that area as we know it, the settlers who left their names and the personal stories that were created up and down the slough.
ORE 979.5 SWA Swanton, John. Indian tribes of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.
ORE 979.5 TAM Tam, Marilyn. Coos County Oregon Resource Atlas : Natural, Human, Economic, Public. Corvallis, Or. : OR State Univ , circa ????.
ORE 979.5 WOO Wooldridge, Alice Hoover. Pioneers and incidents of the upper Coquille Valley, 1890 1940. Myrtle Creek, Or. : Mail Printers, 1971.
Stories and reprints from the Myrtle Point Herald newspaper featuring cities and families in the lower Coos County area depicting frontier and pioneer life.


FOR TEACHERS (Available from the public library)

371.97 STU Stutzman, Easter. Thanksgiving : a resource guide ; an Indian Educational Curriculum Unit. Coos Bay, Or. : Coos County Indian Education Coordination Program, 1990.

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Online Resources--Internet Sites

The Web sites listed on this page have been previewed and selected for this topic. If additional information is needed, use the suggested keywords and phrases to search the Internet.

Remembering the Rhinoceros : creation of the tribal research center
Remembering the Rhinoceros is an article published in the Oregon Library Association Quarterly in 1995 by Don MacNaughten that describes the creation of the tribal research center in Bandon. The tribal research center is located inside the Heritage Place retirement facility that is run by the Coquille Indian tribe. At present, the materials described in the article are not available online, but both the article and the bibliography at the end provide an idea of the wealth of information available in written form and that can be checked out by the public.  This site includes a very good biography of additional materials available regarding Native Americans in the 1800s.

Coquille Tribal website
Website for the Coquille Indian tribe. This page will soon include an index to the material available in the tribal research center, as well as provide links to the SWORP collection at the University of Oregon in Eugene.

Online Highways -- Coos County, Oregon

Online Highways features several web pages dedicated to the history of the coast. It includes links to the history of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw tribes (Confederated Tribes) and the Coquille Tribe. It also provides basic historical information and links to several local points of interest and museums.

Indian Education

A summary of the Coos County Native American history as it relates to Indian Education during the last 150 years as well as discussions of the relevant local battles and major congressional actions that affected the tribes.

History of the Coos County Native Americans

"The Indians of old Oregon county" - a chronological look into the Indian tribes in the Oregon country and the meaning and origin of the names of these tribes and places.

Coos County Courthouse
The Coos County Courthouse website includes both a brief history of the foundation of Coos County as well as listing of the main types of records available in Coquille. 

Southern Oregon PAF Users Group
The Southern Oregon PAF Users Group (SO-PAF-UG) is an organization of genealogists, family researchers, and hobbyists who use computers and the Personal Ancestral File computer program for record keeping. The links point to various other pages, resources, and activities regarding genealogy on the Internet, historical societies, museums, cemeteries, libraries, genealogical addresses and Indian affairs information, and the addresses of the nearest National Archives branches. This site features one of the most complete listings of museums in Southern Oregon as well as a listing of the family names being researched and e-mail addresses to contact the researchers.

Coos County Genealogy
A part of the national USGenWeb project, this page features lots of links to local Coos County information resources.

More Coos County Genealogy
This is an independent site for the history and genealogy of Coos County Oregon. The web page last updated in 2003 and some information links include errors, but the researcher has transcribed some information that was previously only available in print into an electronic form. 

Coos County Museum
Website for the Coos County Museum. This site provides basic information on the history of the Coos County area and a listing of the current displays and events.


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Videos, CD-ROM, Laserdiscs, etc.

The library has the following multimedia resources on Native American and early Coos County

VIDEO 979.5 ORE When everybody was working. Powers, Or. : Powers Historical Society. 1989.
Features the Coos Bay Lumber Company and lots of historical footage of the logging industry circa 1900. Narrated by former lumber workers.
VIDEO 970.423 CON Arrow chain : reclaiming our heritage. [S.l] : Confederated Tribes. c1995.

A documentary on the process of the re-establishing Native American culture and heritage by the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians.


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Dewey Decimal Numbers to Browse

If you want to browse the shelves in the library to locate information about Native Americans in the Coos County area, look for these numbers:

  •  979.523  Indians of North America - Oregon - Coos County (Or.) - History
  •  970.004  Indians of North America - Oregon Oral Histories
  •  970.495  Indians of North America Oregon Pacific Coast

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Keywords and Phrases for Searching

Do you need additional information? Try using these words and phrases to search Magazine Index, the library online catalog, CD-ROM or print encyclopedias or the World Wide Web:

  • Coos County History
  • Coquille Indians
  • Confederated Tribes Oregon
  • Marshfield Oregon History
  • Southwestern Oregon Native Americans 
  • Mishikhwutmetunne (original name of the Coquille Indians)
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Community Resources-People and Places

The following community contacts may help you with your topic:

  • Myrtle Point Herald Newspaper - a visit to the Herald office will allow you to view newspaper clippings going back over 100 years.

  • The Marshfield Sun Museum, Coos Bay

  • Tribal Center, Coos Bay, Oregon

  • Myrtle Point Logging Museum - Brings to life the county's rich history in logging with displays about the people, equipment and boom times of the 1900s. An exhibit of myrtlewood panels carved by Alexander Benjamin Warnock, depicting 'The Glory Days of Logging' also is on display.

  • Boyd Stone, local author and historian

  • Nellie Palmer and other centurians living in the Myrtle Point Care Center, Myrtle Point

  • Coquille Valley Sentinel Newspaper, Coquille

  • Coos County Historical Society Museum, North Bend

  • Coos County Court House Records Department, Coquille


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Information Literacy EALRs and Other Resources for Teachers


2. The student applies the methods of social science investigation to investigate, compare and contrast interpretations of historical events

To meet this standard, the student will:
2.1 investigate and research  

Benchmark 1

  • ask questions to identify a problem from the past
  • locate, gather, and process information from a variety of primary and secondary sources, including photographs, drawings, artifacts, oral accounts, and documents

2.2 analyze historical information

Benchmark 1

  • organize and record information
  • compare and contrast information from different historical sources

2.3 synthesize information and reflect on findings

Benchmark 1

  • express findings; explain why interpretations of the same historical event can differ examine earlier steps in the investigative process and propose improvements to the process used  

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Comments? E-mail Robyn Greenlund