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Total population
1774: 3,060

1806: 1,700
1875: 1,800
1961: 12

2010: 7
Regions with significant populations
Not a lot is known about Alsea religion/beliefs. It is thought to be similar to that of the Coos
Related ethnic groups

The Alsea are a Native American tribe of Western Oregon. They are (since 1856), confederated with other Tribes on the Siletz Reservation, Oregon, and are members of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz.

Their origin story says that the Yaquina, Alsea, Yachats, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw people are all one tribe, and speak the same language. Today however, the Yakonan language branch is divided into Alsean and Siuslawan. The Alsean people (Yaquina/Alsea/Yachats) all practiced forehead flattening (by slight pressure applied in baby’s cradleboard) until about 1860. The Alsea signed the 1855 Coast Treaty, agreeing to share their homelands with other Tribes when the Siletz Reservation was to be established, the treaty not being ratified by the U.S. Senate, the appropriations never arrived. The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, represented Tillamook, Yaquina, Alsea, Coquille, Tututni, Chetco aboriginal title compensation claims in the 1940s–50s. The lawsuit “Alsea Band of Tillamooks et al vs the United States”. The confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians won that case, and some compensation was received about 1959.


The name "Alsea" comes from /alsíiya/, the name applied to the Alseas by their neighbors, the Tillamook and Coos peoples.[1]

Kûnis'tûnne, Chastacosta name. Päifan amím, Luckiamute Kalapuya name. Si ni'-te-li tunne, Naltunne name, meaning "flatheads." Tcha yáxo amim, Luckiamute Kalapuya name. Tehayesátlu, Nestucca name.[2]


The Alsea lived on the western coast of Oregon, around what is now Alsea Bay at the mouth of the Alsea River.

  • Chiink, on the south side of Alsea River.
  • Kakhtshanwaish, on the north side of Alsea River.
  • Kalbusht, on the lower course of Alsea River.
  • Kauhuk, on the south side of Alsea River.
  • Kaukhwan, on the north side of Alsea River at Beaver Creek.
  • Khlimkwaish, on the south side of Alsea River.
  • Khlokhwaiyutslu, on the north side of Alsea River.
  • Kutauwa, on the north side of Alsea River at its mouth.
  • Kwamk, on the south side of Alsea River.
  • Kwulisit, on the south side of Alsea River.
  • Kyamaisu, on the north side of Alsea River at its mouth.
  • Panit, on the south side of Alsea River.
  • Shiuwauk, on the north side of Alsea River.
  • Skhakhwaiyutslu, on the south side of Alsea River.
  • Tachuwit, on the north side of Alsea River.
  • Thlekuhweyuk, on the south side of Alsea River.
  • Thlekushauk, on the south side of Alsea River.[2]

"Mooney (1928) estimates the number of Indians belonging to the Yakonan stock at 6,000 in 1780. The census of 1910 returned 29 Indians under this name, and that of 1930 only 9 under the entire Yakonan stock."[2]


The Alsea hunted seals and sea lions, fished for salmon, and gathered camas roots. Like many tribes in the area, they flattened the heads of infants. They placed their dead in canoes on isolated land jutting into estuaries.[3]


Alsea was an Alsean language very closely related to Yaquina. By 1910, it was almost extinct, with fewer than six people having a speaking knowledge of the language.[4]


Very little is known about Alsea religion. It is thought to be similar to that of the Coos. Alsea shamans promoted good salmon runs and the Alsea appealed to animal spirits and powers in nature for aid.[3]


The Alsea wore robes of seal skin, wove baskets and made grass raincoats.


  1. ^ Bright, William (2004). Native American placenames of the United States. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-8061-3598-4. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
  2. ^ a b c John R. Swanton (1953). The Indian Tribes of North America. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin. 145. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
  3. ^ a b Ruby, Robert H.; Brown, John A.; Collins, Cary C. (2013-02-27). A Guide to the Indian Tribes of the Pacific Northwest. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-8950-5.
  4. ^ Frachtenberg, Leo (1920). Alsea texts and myths. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. p. 243.[permanent dead link]

Further reading

This page was last edited on 17 December 2020, at 19:30
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