Indians of Yachats

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American Indians of the central Oregon coast were known to be hunter-gatherers, not agriculturalists. (See Map on the following page) 2 In order to have a steady food supply, they usually migrated between their summer camps and winter residences. The Alsea Indians had as many as twenty permanent villages, that is, locations which were used on a rotating yearly basis as settlements along the Alsea River and the coast from Seal Rock to Ten Mile Creek. Nine villages have been identified north of the Alsea River. Eleven villages were located south of the Alsea River. 3 Seventeen of those villages have been named, 4 (See Appendix I) 5

There is a broad-based body of evidence that supports the existence of another southern Alsea village known as the Yahuch band of the Alsea Indians, located on the Yachats River. 6

Philip Drucker from his article “Contribution to Alsea Ethnography’ interviewed Leona Ludson, a full-blooded Alsea. She stated that south along the coast was the town of Yahaitc. 7

Spencer Scott, a Siuslaw, reported to John Peabody Harrington that members of the Alsea Villages regularly came south to Yachatc. There they gathered mussels and salmon. He added that some Alsea also lived in Yachatc. 8

Jeanine Rowley wrote in her book The Cape Perpetua Story, “The Alsea Indians had village sites near Cape Perpetua, Seal Rock, along the Alsea River and Bay.” Rowley continued, “A small tribe known as the Alsea Indians had a village located below Cape Perpetua on the ocean shoreline.” 9

In “Notes on the Alsea Indians of Oregon,” Livingston Farrand described the geographical locations of the Alsea villages and identified the most southern village as the present site of Yachats,’°

Leo Frachtenberg’s refers to the origin of the Yakonan and Siuslawan Tribes. In this legend, the Creator sends out a man and a woman, related as husband and wife, to populate new lands. The Creator sent the couple to Yakona, then their offspring were sent to Alsea and their offspring were sent to Yahach. Legends usually have some foundation in fact, and this legend is another indication that Native people lived in the Yachats area.

Ten Mile Creek is recognized as the southern boundary of the Alsea bands. It is also an area that divided cultural and language differences. The Yachats area was within the Alsea territory.

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Last Modified:12/28/04
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