Our Languages

The Languages We Spoke

Tribal member Troy Anderson leads Tribal youth through a workshop on the Miluk language.

In centuries past, the Coquille Tribe’s ancestral homelands sat at the intersection of two distinct “families” of Native languages. To the north were various dialects of the Penutian family, including Miluk and Hanis. To the south were Athabaskan dialects, related to languages spoken in Alaska and the American Southwest.

No clear border divided these languages. But memories passed down through generations indicate that Miluk was spoken by Coquille ancestors around the mouth of the Coquille River at Bandon, northward to Coos Bay’s South Slough, and on Cape Arago. Athabaskan dialects used by other Coquille ancestors were found in areas east and south of where Miluk was spoken.

These differing languages did not block communication. Speaking more than one language was common, especially among women, because they traditionally married outside their home villages.

Sadly, these ancient languages could not survive the tsunami of Euro-American culture. By the early 1900s, most native languages on the Oregon Coast were nearly extinct. The remaining Indian people primarily spoke English and the regional trade jargon known as “Chinuk Wawa.” Today, the Coquille Tribe is working to reconnect its members with their ancestors’ languages.

Learn more

Additional resources relating to the Coquille people’s traditional languages are available on the Tribal Library page, listed under “Indigenous Languages.”  Click here.  

  • Tribe Responds to COVID-19

    The Coquille Indian Tribe is taking appropriate steps in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. In addition to the measures undertaken by The Mill Casino-Hotel & RV Park, the tribal government administration is acting to protect the safety of our employees and tribal member families, while maintaining essential services to our membership.

    In the past few days, the tribe has canceled some group events.  We also have curtailed nonessential travel by our employees. We have been communicating to membership daily for the past week, keeping them informed about the status of the epidemic in both Oregon and nationwide, along with the tribe’s actions.

    Starting Monday, many of our tribal government employees will begin working from home. We are keeping our health center open. Other tribal government facilities will either close for the next two weeks or remain open on a limited basis, with minimal staffing. Like other local governments, we will evaluate the unfolding situation and respond accordingly.

    We offer our best wishes to the entire community in this challenging time.