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Q’alya Ta Kukwis Shichdii Me

Traditional Cultural Property Application

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“Our efforts are a response to the Tribal Constitution, which states that the Tribal Government is established to perpetuate our unique tribal identify and to promote and protect that identity. The resources we seek to protect through this listing are central to the Coos tribe’s identity.” -Chief Warren Brainard

The Constitution of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians states that our government was established in order to; perpetuate our unique identity and to promote and protect that identity, secure the rights and powers inherit to us as Indian people and as an Indian Tribe, preserve and promote our cultural, religious, and historical beliefs.
Our culture developed over thousands of years of living in a place. Thousands of years of observing, learning, and sustainably thriving in a place. A Traditional Cultural Property (TCP) designation recognizes the cultural significance and identity of a living community within that place. It recognizes the connection to this place and the resources that have been and still are used. It recognizes the value that it has to our Tribe and our culture and resources, additionally, it is a tool for protecting certain features important to our unique identity for future generations.
Q’alya Ta Kukwis Shichdii Me translates to Jordan Cove and the Bay of the Coos People. Jordan Cove is the central feature spatially in our TCP and representative of the hardship that we have overcome to be here today. We, as a Tribe, as a sovereign government, are exercising our rights to protect and preserve an area that has been of great significance to our way of life since time immemorial. The TCP boundary includes the expansive bay and its sloughs, inlets and adjacent uplands encompassing a 20- square mile area. These resolutions set forward in motion, the efforts of the Department of Natural Resources to seek the designation of Q’alya Ta Kukwis Shichdii Me, a Traditional Cultural Property Historic District.
The proposed district includes portions of private and public land in the cities of Coos Bay, North Bend and adjacent areas in Coos County. It contains over a hundred and fifty contributing features associated with the history, culture, and beliefs of the Coos People. A primary Tribal objective is to perpetuate the Tribes’ unique identity through preservation of Cultural Artifacts and sites of cultural, sacred, religious and historic significance. Ethnographies, anthropological studies and historic evidence confirm what our elders have taught us- that cultural, historic, and anthropological sites of significance to our Tribes are centered around the estuary.

'“A National Registry listing would require assessment of impacts to critical gathering and harvest areas" - Chairman Mark Ingersoll

The story of Jordan Cove is not dissimilar to other places of significance in the TCP, marked as important by the traditional cultural uses here. Additionally, our own family connections to places such as Jordan Cove, Barrett’s landing, family allotments, and our shared history, including the Treaty signing location. In this way, the Jordan Family and the places that have carried this name are part of our Tribal history. The Cove in addition to the other historic places in the TCP tell the story of our ancestors. How they endured as native people, in many cases, blended into Euro-American families for love and/or survival. Through their persistence and dedication to their coastal aboriginal homelands they helped preserve traditions and passed them on to a whole new generation of people. This new generation putting these teachings to good use in an area that was and is still very rich with natural resources.
Many of the bay’s features have been central to our traditional practices and our survival here throughout our forced removal after being rounded up in Empire in 1855. As a condition of our anticipated treaty and payment for their lands, the Coos had to leave their homelands. Only a few were allowed to stay, those who married white settlers. The Jordan family name is one associated with this time in our history and remains a name associated with our tribe and Coos Bay places, like Jordan Cove. When other Coos returned after nearly 20 years of broken promises, loss and hardship they found allotments or land that reflected their values.

“The Indians never lived at places hard to get into and inland, such as white people acquire. The Indians always wanted a place on the water, and preferred deep water.” -Lottie Evenoff

The Coos people have continually utilized the Bay for fishing, gathering, ceremony, and where they are laid to rest. The area detailed within the nomination are not just a series of separate archaeological sites, but a constellation of interrelated cultural areas with generations of Tribal subsistence, ceremony, and use. On December 19th, 2018 the final draft of the Tribes Traditional Cultural Property (TCP) application was submitted to the State Historic Preservation Office. Additionally, we had previously (twice) nominated the Jordan Cove Area as a TCP. First on July 31, 2006 CTCLUSI passed Resolution No. 06-097 and again on July 29, 2015, CTCLUSI passed resolution number 15-049, nominating Jordan Cove and its surrounding areas to be a Site of Tribal Cultural and Religious Significance. Following that direction our Tribe spent the past few years researching tribal history and interviewing tribal members to better understand our relationship to this place over time. The boundary of the TCP slowly emerging from this work.
The redacted version of this document can be found at: https://www.oregon.gov/oprd/HCD/NATREG/Pages/Jordan-Cove-TCP.aspx This document is being shared in its redacted form. Publicly disclosing locations of villages, burials, archaeological sites, and ceremonial places puts those resources at risk. It is our job as a Tribal government to perpetuate our unique identity and to promote and protect that identity, secure the rights and powers inherit to us as Native people and as an Indian Tribe, preserve and promote our cultural, religious, and historical beliefs. With this document, we are further exercising our rights as a sovereign government and further perpetuating our mission.
Thank you to Patricia Phillips for all of her many contributions and the tribal members who participated in interviews. If you have knowledge or important places that you would like to protect please let our Cultural Resource Protection Program know or ask for an interview with us.

Photograph by John Schaefer