July 13, 2012

Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians


The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians located in South Western Oregon is one of nine federally recognized Indian tribal governments in the State of Oregon.  

Official Tribal Name: Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians

Address: 2371 NE Stephens Street, Roseburg, Oregon 97470
Phone: 541-672-9405 or (800) 929-8229

Official Website: 

Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning:

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Alternate names: Formerly known as the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians of Oregon.

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Region: Northwest Coast

State(s) Today: Oregon

Traditional Territory:

The Cow Creek Tribe of Umpqua Indians lived between the Cascade and Coast Ranges in Southwestern Oregon, along the South Umpqua River and its primary feeder stream, Cow Creek. This territory included the entire Umpqua watershed; however, the Tribe was very mobile. A vast area surrounding this watershed was known as their trade, hunting and gathering area.

This area extended north into the Willamette Valley and to the east to Crater Lake and the Klamath Marsh area, as well as reaching as far west as the Coast Range and south through the Rogue River Watershed into the Siskiyous.

The Cow Creek Tribe made extensive use of the huckleberry patches along the Rogue-Umpqua Divide and the hunting areas and “medicine” trees in the watershed of Jackson Creek. There was more broad usage of the South Umpqua Falls and Big Rocks for fishing and general subsistence purposes.  



Reservations: Cow Creek Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land
Land Area: The Cow Creek Tribe never received the reservation their Treaty promised. As a result of the 1854 Treaty, the Cow Creek Tribe became a landless tribe, ceding more than 800 square miles of Southwestern Oregon to the United States. The Tribe was paid 2.3 cents an acre for their land. The U.S. Government was selling that same land, through the Donation Land Claims Act, for $1.25 an acre to pioneer settlers.
Tribal Headquarters:  Roseburg, OR
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Registered Population Today: About 1,594 enrolled members  

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Name of Governing Body: Tribal Board of Directors 
Number of Council members:  11
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Language Classification:

Language Dialects: Takelma

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Bands, Gens, and Clans

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Art & Crafts: Cow Creek women were known for woven baskets made of wild-hazel bark, bear grass and maidenhair fern stems. 





The Cow Creek Tribe constructed their winter houses primarily of pine boards over shallow excavations in the earth. There are records that rock shelters, with animal hides, were also used for homes. 


The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua were hunter-gatherers. Deer and elk were abundant as were summer runs of silver salmon and winter runs of steelhead. During the salmon runs, the Cow Creek Tribe built weirs across the streams and placed funnel-shaped basket traps made of hazel shoots in the narrow channels.

Plant life was also an important source of food.In addition to gathering huckleberries, blackberries and blackcaps, the Cow Creek Tribe gathered tarweed, hazel and chinquapin nuts, wild onions, Indian lettuce, acorns, camas, mushrooms and lambs quarters.

Plants served medicinal purposes as well. Snakeweed was used for burns, cuts and blood poisoning. Mullen leaves were steeped and made into cough syrup. Wild ginger teas cured fevers.

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Catastrophic Events:

The Umpqua suffered mass mortality in the California smallpox epidemic of 1837-8, and from malaria and other diseases.

Tribe History:

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Further Reading:

US Tribes C to D
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