Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon

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The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon generally include Clatsop, Chinook, Klickitat, Molala, Kalapuya, Tillamook, Alsea, Siuslaw/Lower Umpqua, Coos, Coquelle, Upper Umpqua, Tututni (including all the lower Rogue River Bands and those extending up the coast to Floras Creek and down to Whales Head), Chetco (including all of the villages from Whales Head to the Winchuck River), Tolowa, Takelma (including the Illinois Valley/mid-Rogue River and Cow Creek peoples), Galice/Applegate, and Shasta peoples.

 Official Tribal Name: Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon

Address:  201 SE Swan Avenue, P.O. Box 549, Siletz, OR 97380
Phone: 1-800-922-1399
Fax: (541) 444-2307
Email: List of Email Contacts

Official Website: http://ctsi.nsn.us/ 

Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

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Alternate names: Formerly the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Reservation 

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Region: Northwest and Plateau

State(s) Today: Oregon

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Confederacy: Salish 

Treaties:

Rogue River Treaty of September 10, 1853
Cow Creek Treaty of September 19, 1853

Reservation: Siletz Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land

 
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The ancestors of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz spoke at least 10 different base languages. 11 if you include a few Sahaptin speaking Klickitat people who were living in the Willamette and Umpqua Valleys when the reservation was created – and so found themselves being removed to Siletz along with the original people of those valleys. Many of these separate languages have so many strong dialectic divisions even within the same language, that from one end of the same language group’s territory to the other, it was sometimes impossible for fellow speakers to understand each other. 

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Each of the “tribes” can be further broken down into individual bands. There was no central government between the various bands. Compiling a list of tribal groups that became incorporated into the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians as a tribe, or who had individual members who became incorporated into the Confederated Tribes is in itself a daunting task. The easiest way to accomplish it is to mention only the more general term for the language group or larger tribal affiliation, rather than getting down into the specifics of village based identity. However most of the old time people and many tribal members even today prefer to identify their tribal ancestry with as much detail as possible.

Some examples of more general terms would be “Tillamook Tribe” rather than “Salmon River, Siletz, Nestucca or Nehalem Band of the Tillamook Tribe” or “Kalapuya Tribe” rather than the “Yamhill, Yoncalla or Luckimute Band of the Kalapuya Tribe.”

Generally, villages operated with complete local autonomy. Sometimes, though, it is said that there was a recognized headman for an entire region consisting of many individual villages. Headmen were not considered (for the most part) a substitute for the roles of the kings of Europe.

Headmen were mostly planners, organizers of work parties, and mediators – often being responsible for paying fines for poor villagers who had offended someone. Such responsibilities needed to be carried out in order to maintain peace & friendly relationships around the area.

In the old days, just about any infraction (including murder) could be taken care of with a fine established in a negotiated settlement, though a person was considered to be stained by blood for life and could not be active in certain ceremonies after causing wrongful death.

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The peoples houses for almost the entire region was primarily a cedar or sugar pine plank structure with the hearth area at least slightly below ground level. Although sometimes the people lived parts of the year practically under the open sky as they traveled from one seasonal camp to the next. In the northern area along the Columbia River and the north coast, these plank houses were sometimes well over 100 feet long, and sometimes had several hearths and separate family areas partitioned off within the structure. 

Subsistance:

The coastal people’s diet and economy was quite different than that of the inland valley people. Sea lion, whale, shellfish, ocean fishes, salmon, etc. being staples for the coast, while some inland people found deer and elk (along with salmon and acorn soup) to be their common food. 

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People of Note:

Peter “Last Walking Bear” DePoe – Drummer for the band Redbone. His tribal descents are Northern Cheyenne, Arapaho, Chippewa, Siletz, Rogue River Tututni and Iroquois. DePoe is also of French and German descent. In 1969 he became the drummer for the Native American rock band Redbone. He was credited with developing a style of drumming known as “King Kong”.

Sister Francella Mary Griggs – advocate for the restoration of federal recognition

Mary “Dolly” Fisher – Named the tribal casino “Chinook Winds.” Started the restoration of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians since 1974. She won the Nanwood Honeyman Award for significant contribution to the advancement of women in Oregon. She won The National Congress of American Indians award, honoring Indian and Native Women’s leadership.

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The north coast and many of the Willamette Valley people practiced intentional head shaping (pressing a padded board, which was attached to the cradle board, against a baby’s forehead – eventually forcing it to slope back & upwards). It was considered a distinguishing mark of beauty and status among the tribes who practiced it, but was usually not so admired by others. 

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