Indians of Yachats cont.

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Robert Kentta stated the Coos and Umpqua probably came across a burial hut of an Alsea Village located near the present town of Yachats. If these people were Alsea and followed the rituals of the Alsea they would have interred their dead above ground. Don Whereat’s interpretation is different. According to Whereat, the Coos and Umpqua were familiar with the Alsea death rituals. Rather, the Alsea population was decimated by tuberculosis, small pox, and other European induced diseases years before the Alsea Sub-Agency came into existence. Cultural and spiritual practices were lost to basic survival. Whereat contends the Coos and Umpquas came across the last Alsea to die in the Yachats area.22

Still, another burial area was at Bob Creek, five miles south of Yachats. “ Bob Creek is where the dead Alsea lay. The Coos Indians called this creek ts xuwite, which means “Alsea lying)’23

More in-depth archaeological site investigations have been done in the Yachats area, and at the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area. Results of this scientific testing suggest that these sites were occupied as far back as 1,500 years ago.24 In Yachats, the remains of a pit house were radiocarbon dated at 1380 +1- 70 B.P. (Before Present, present being defined as 1950),25 At the Cape Creek site, located at the base of Cape Perpetua, the remains of a pithouse were radiocarbon dated to 810 +1- 60 B.P. Beads from Russia, Bohemia, and Italy were unearthed south of the Cape Creak site. Radiocarbon dating gave the time between 17904820. Some Italian beads may be dated as late as 1840,26 These findings suggest Cape Creek site was occupied intensively and for a long period of time.

Earlier site investigations of the Oregon Coast by Lloyd R. Collins in 1951, identified multiple pithouses in the Yachats area. Most are buried or have been destroyed by recent construction.27 Therefore, it is important to know that archaeological studies have been done and they confirm continuous occupation by Indian people since prehistoric times.

Exact locations of historical Indian sites are often kept confidential, since to publicize them would increase vulnerability to destruction by the curious and those wanting to steal artifacts. Some location s such as those at the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area have been made public. With this exposure, the positive result has been an increased awareness of American Indian history and understanding of community for indigenous people.28

To ensure the protection of archaeological sites, resources, and objects, there are both specific state and federal laws that are strictly enforced. Any removal, disturbance, or destruction of resources are subject to prosecution and substantial penalties.29

See Appendix 2 for additional notes of interest.

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Last Modified:12/28/04
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