Coos people are an indigenous people of the Northwest Plateau, living in Oregon. They live on the southwest Oregon Pacific coast. Today, Coos people are enrolled in the following federally recognized tribes:

Total population
526 (1990s)[1]
Regions with significant populations
 United States( Oregon)
English, formerly Coos,[2]
(Hanis language and Miluk language)[1]
traditional tribal religion, formerly Ghost Dance
Related ethnic groups
Siuslaw people[1]


The Coos language is dormant. It belongs to the Coosan language family,[2] and is divided into two dialects: Hanis language and Miluk language.[1] The Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw has a language program to revitalize the language.[2]


Their neighbors were Siuslauan, Kalapuyan, and the Umpqua Indians. On February 8, 1806 the Coos people were first mentioned by Euro-Americans. William Clark, wintering at Fort Clatsop near the Columbia with Meriwether Lewis and the Corp of Discovery, reported the existence of the "Cook-koo-oose nation". His journal entry stated: "I saw several prisoners from this nation with the Clatsops and Kilamox, they are much fairer than the common Indians of this quarter, and do not flatten their heads." The Coos joined with the Umpqua and Siuslaw tribes and became a confederation with the signing of a Treaty in August 1855. In 1857, the U.S. Government removed the Coos Indians to Port Umpqua. Four years later, they were again transferred to the Alsea Sub-agency at Yachats Reservation where they remained until 1876. In 1876, the sub-agency was handed over to white settlement and the Indians were assigned to relocate to the Siletz Reservation, which created a major disruption among the tribal members.


There were 40–50 villages in the Coos tribes (they lived around the Coos bay and North Bend area). Most of them were hunters, fishermen, and gatherers. For entertainment, they held foot races, canoe races, dice (bone or stick) games, target ilu practice, and also shinny (field hockey).[4]


Several Oregon landmarks are named after the tribe, including Coos Bay, the city of Coos Bay, Oregon, and Coos County.

Notable Coos peopleEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Pritzker 172
  2. ^ a b c "Coos." Ethnologue. Retrieved 8 Sept 2013.
  3. ^ Pritzker 174
  4. ^ "Traditional Culture of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw". Culture and History. Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians. Archived from the original on 2006-09-06. Retrieved 2006-10-07.


  • Pritzker, Barry M. A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-19-513877-1

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit