Hanis and Milluk Coos:  bi

Galice Creek Athabaskan: tʌnʌ´sh

Chasta Costa Athabaskan: tʌhʌ´sh

Siletz Athabaskan: dee-nvsh

The common manzanita of western Oregon is Arctostaphylos columbiana, and closely related to kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi).  It’s a member of the heath family – its other local relatives include wild huckleberries, madrone, and rhododendron.

Coos Bay people picked the berries fall. They were pounded into a fine flour in a grinding basket. Then this manzanita flour was mixed with dried or fresh salmon eggs into a kind of mush or cake. Salmon egg-manzanita cakes were sometimes eaten with bracken fern rhizomes.

I haven’t found much information on the use of manzanita by other western Oregon peoples, but they were so widely eaten in the rest of the west, I assume they did too.

In California, many tribes made ‘cider’ from the berries – by lightly crushing the berries and soaking them in water.  The beverage is supposed to taste a lot like apple cider.  Some also used manzanita medicinally – some Pomo bands made a tea from the bark to treat diarrhea.


Drucker, Phillip. 1933. Ethnographic Field Notes. Office of Anthropology Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC.

Dubin, Margaret and Sara-Larus Tolley.  2008.  Seaweed, Salmon, adn Manzanita Cider: A California Indian Feast. Heyday Books, Berkeley CA.

Harrington, John P. 1942. Alsea, Siuslaw, Coos, Southwest Oregon Athapaskan: Vocabularies, Linguistic Notes, Ethnographic and Historical Notes. John Peabody Harrington Papers, Alaska/Northwest Coast, in National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC.

Jacobs, Melville. 1932-34. Coos Ethnologic Notes, Notebooks 91-99, 101, Jacobs Collection, University of Washington Archives, Seattle.

Lightfoot, Kent and Otis Parrish.  2009.  California Indians and Their Envinronment; An introduction.  University of California Press.

About shichils

Just sharing some fun on language
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