Location of the Coquille Indian Tribe

Between 12,000 and 30,000 years ago, the Siberian ancestors of the Coquille crossed the Bering land bridge and began the first discovery of the New World. About 10,000 years ago, they appeared along the Oregon coast, following the receding ice into the rich valleys and bays of a new home. These people called themselves Miluk, and they settled along the southern margins of Coos Bay and around the mouth of the Coquille River. About 4,000 years ago, a second migration of North Asians paddled across Bering Strait and colonized northern Canada. These people were Athapaskans, known in their language as Dene. Some Athapaskans moved south, mostly to Arizona and New Mexico to become the Navajo and Apache, but one Athapaskan band inexplicably broke away and made a thousand-mile detour to Southern Oregon, where they settled on the upper Coquille River. Descendants of these two groups - the Miluk and the Dene - make up the modern Coquille tribe.

In a stretch of coast that today can be driven in an hour, people spoke four completely different languages. The 40 Coquille villages maintained a complex set of relationships with their neighbors to the north and south, through marriage, trade and political alliances. Currently, the tribe is located centrally in Coos Bay Oregon.