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Subject: [FOLKLORE] The Umpqua National Forest:Names and Meanings
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2000 11:25:42 -0700

American Indian Names
Of Locations On And Around
The Umpqua National Forest.

Names and Meanings

Calamut Lake, (Diamond Lake RD; Umpqua NF)
Calamut is of uncertain origin and meaning, but it is possibly an
early form of the word Klamath (see Klamath Lake). This small and very
blue lake is located on the very northeastern
edge of the Umpqua in the Oregon Cascades Recreational Area (25S
5-1/2 E, Sec. 34), and is the origin of an unnamed creek that flows into
the North Umpqua River.
Calapooya Mountains, (Umpqua NF)
These mountains divide the Willamette River and Umpqua River
watersheds.The Kalapuya (CAL-a-POO-ee-ya) Indians were living in the
Willamette Valley when the first
Euro-Americans arrived. The Yoncalla Kalapuya occupied the area
between the Willamette River and the North Umpqua River.
Camas Creek, (Diamond Lake RD; Umpqua NF)
Camas is Chinook jargon for the camas roots, which were an
important food. Camas originates from the Nootka word Chamass for
"fruit" or "sweet". The Rogue-Umpqua divide area
was an important source of camas and olallie (berries). This creek
originates at Mud Lake Mountain, and flows into Fish Creek at T27S R3E
Sec. 10.
Klamath Chief, one of 26 who signed treaty of Oct. 14, 1864
Cultus Creek, (North Umpqua RD; Umpqua NF)
Cultus is Chinook jargon for "worthless" . This creek was named by
a US Land Office surveyor who had trouble getting around in this steep
area, and considered the area
"troublesome". This creek originates near the saddle north of Red
Top Spring, and flows into Cavitt Creek near Shadow Falls at 28S 2W Sec.
Howlock Mountain, (Diamond Lake RD; Umpqua NF)
In 1916, this peak was named after Chief Howlock, a well-known
Piaute Indian chief who lived in the Central Oregon area. This peak is
located about 3 miles north of Mount Thielsen.
Illahee Rock, (North Umpqua RD; Umpqua NF)
Illahee is the Chinook jargon word for "land", "earth", "dirt" or
"country", and is derived from the Chinook word ilahekh. Illahee Rock is
the location of a lookout on the edge of Boulder
Creek Wilderness on the ridge dividing the Steamboat Creek and
Boulder Creek drainages. The meadows to the south in 24S 2E Sec. 22
called Illahee Flats are said to have been an
important gathering place, and local lore is that there were horse
races and associated gambling around some large oak trees that are still
in the meadow.
Johnnie Springs, (Tiller RD; Umpqua NF)
This spring, located in 29S 2W Sec. 2, was named for John Rondeau
(as was Rondeau Butte), who was a member of the Rondeau family of the
Cow Creek Indian Band. He worked
for the Forest Service, and laid out many of the present roads in
the South Umpqua River area.
Klamath Lake, (Klamath County)
The locality around the lake was named for the Klamath Indians, who
referred to this area as Clemmat or Tlamath - there are many variations
on the spelling. The Klamath Indians
call themselves the Eukshikni, or Auksni - "people of the lake".
A.G. Gatshet has prepared the Dictionary of the Klamath Language, which
describes the language used by the
Lemolo Falls (Diamond Lake RD; Umpqua NF)
Lemolo is the Chinook jargon word for "wild" or "untamed". This
spectacular 170-foot waterfall is located along the North Umpqua River
about two miles downstream from Lemolo
Limpy Mountain, (North Umpqua RD; Umpqua NF)
This mountain, as well as Limpy Prairie and Limpy Rock, were named
for an Indian resident of the Little River area who had an injured leg,
and walked with a halting gait.
Llao Rock, (Crater Lake NP)
This large bluff, located on the northwest rim of Crater Lake, was
apparently named for an Klamath deity that was associated with this
Lonewoman Creek, (Tiller RD; Umpqua NF)
This creek was named for Dolley Tomason, a Cow Creek Indian who
used a trail along this creek to travel to the Klamath. This creek
originates in the Rouge-Umpqua Divide
Wilderness near the peak of Hershberger Mountain, and drains into
Jackson Creek at 29S 2E Sec 36. The trail along this creek connected
into a series of trails in the Jackson Creek -
South Umpqua River area.
Maidu Lake, (Diamond Lake RD; Umpqua NF)
This lake was named for the Maidu Indian tribe from the Sierra
Nevada region of California. This wild, beautiful, and remote lake is
the source of the North Umpqua River, and is
located in the Mount. Thielsen Wilderness near Miller Mountain at
Range 27S, Township 6-1/2E, Section 4.
Maklaks Pass, (Crater Lake NP)
Maklaks is a Klamath word meaning "encamped", "community" or
"tribe". This pass is in a spur running southeast from the rim of Crater
Mount Bailey, (Diamond Lake RD; Umpqua NF)
While the current name is not of Native American origin, (actually,
this mountain was originally know as Old Baldy, and was probably
mistakenly wrote down as Old Bailey), this
mountain was known as Youxlokes to the Klamath, which meant
"Medicine Mountain". According to legend, medicine men and priests often
feasted on the summit and communed
with the upper world.
Mount Thielsen, (Diamond Lake RD; Umpqua NF)
Also known as Big Cowhorn. This mountain was known as Hischokwolas
to Indians of the area. This rugged horn-like mountain is unique and
very distinguishable.
Mowich Creek, (Diamond Lake RD; Umpqua NF)
Mowich is the Chinook jargon word for "deer". Mowich Creek
originates on Elephant Mountain, and flows along Mowich Park into the
Clearwater River.
Rabbit Ears
A descriptive name. Indians called it Kalistopox (meaning unknown).

Siskiyou Mountains, (Jackson County)
Siskiyou is a Chinook jargon word that means "a bob-tailed horse".
There are several local stories to the origin of this name; one is that
a Hudson Bay trader lost a bob-tailed race
horse here during a snow storm in 1828.
Skookum Lake, (Diamond Lake RD; Umpqua NF)
Skookum is the Chinook jargon word for "strong" or "powerful", and
was often used to refer to evil deities (the opposite of Hehe spirits,
which were good, or fun). When used in
connection with localities, the word skookum generally indicated a
place inhabited by a skookum, or evil god of the woods. Indians avoided
skookum places and considered them
haunted. In contradistinction to a skookum, a hehe was a good
spirit and a Hehe Chuck was a fine place for games, races and other
sports and festivities. This lake is located north of
Skookum Prairie, and along the western edge of Devils Canyon. This
steep, rugged box canyon does seem to have a certain eerie feeling to
Tenas Peak, (Diamond Lake RD; Umpqua NF)
Tenas is the Chinook jargon word for "small". This peak is located
on the northwestern corner of the Mount Thielsen Wilderness Area.
Tioga, (Douglas County)
Tioga is an Iroquois word meaning "where it forks". It was named
for a place in Pennsylvania called Tioga.
Tipsoo Peak, (Diamond Lake RD; Umpqua NF)
Tipsoo is the Chinook jargon word for "grass" or "hair". This peak
is located about six miles north of Mount Thielsen. Tipsoo Creek, which
originates to the east of this peak, drains into
Miller Lake.
Toketee Falls, (Diamond Lake RD; Umpqua NF)
Toketee is the Chinook jargon word for "pretty" or "graceful".
These picturesque falls are located on the North Umpqua River about a
half-mile downstream from the confluence of the
Clearwater and the North Umpqua rivers.
Tolo Mountain (Diamond Lake RD; Umpqua NF)
Tolo is the Chinook jargon word for "win", "earn", "prevail", or
"succeed". This prominent peak is the divide between the North Umpqua,
Little Deschutes, and Deschutes River
Tututni Pass, (Crater Lake NP)
Named for the Tututni Indians that lived along the mouth of the
Rogue River. This pass is located at Vidae Ridge, south of Crater Lake.
Tyee Mountain, (Douglas County)
Tyee is the Chinook jargon for "Chief". This mountain, located west
of Sutherlin, was apparently named because of it's prominent position in
the area. Sagallie Tyee means "High
Chief", and is the name for The Great Spirit, The Old One, or God.
Many theories exist as to the meaning of Umpqua. Most have
something to do with water. The most accepted definition is "thunder
water", or more specifically, the noise water makes
when it rushes through canyons and gorges and over rocks. Other
theories are the name for "river", or "bring across the river", "water",
or "dancing water". Another source says the
name means "satisfied". It is the name given to several bands of
Athapascan language speakers who occupied the drainages of the Umpqua
River and its tributaries prior to Anglo
occupation. The band we refer to as Upper Umpquas, early occupants
of this region , called themselves Etnemitane. The meaning of this word
is unknown.
Umpqua River, (Douglas County)
Umpqua was the Indian name used to refer to the locality of the
Umpqua River, and the Umpqua Indian Tribes of the area were named after
the Umpqua. The word Umpqua was
recorded as early as 1825 by David Douglas. The Umpqua River is
made of three major river systems; the North Umpqua, which originates at
Maidu Lake, the South Umpqua River
which originates in the Rouge-Umpqua Divide Wilderness near
Highrock Mtn., and Cow Creek which originates near Red Mountain. The
Umpqua River flows into the Pacific Ocean
at Winchester Bay.
Willamette River, (Lane and other many other counties)
Derived from Wal-lamt, which designated a place along the
Willamette River near Oregon City on the west bank. David Douglas
referred to this river as the Willamette in 1826. Lewis
and Clark explored the mouth of the river in 1806, but called it
the Multnomah at the time.
Windigo Pass
Indian evil spirits.
Yakso Falls, (North Umpqua RD; Umpqua NF)
Yakso is the Chinook jargon word for "the hair of the head". This
beautiful 70-foot waterfall, located on Little River a mile northeast of
Lake in the Woods, does resemble long, flowing
Yoncalla, (Douglas County)
Uncertain origin, it meant "home of the eagles" and was the name of
a butte near present-day Yoncalla that was an eagle nesting area. The
Yoncalla Indians, a Kalapooian tribe, were
apparently named for this butte. The Yoncalla High School teams are
appropriately named "The Yoncalla Eagles".
Youtikut Pillars, (North Umpqua RD; Umpqua NF)
Youtikut is the Chinook jargon word for "long in length". This is a
rock formation of tilted volcanic columnar basalt, and weathering has
highlighted these columns. It is located on the
southwest side of OK Butte, in 27S 1E Sec. 14.


Chinook, a History and a Dictionary
Edward Harper Thomas
Binfords and Mort - Portland, Oregon
1935, 1954, 1970

Geographic, Social and Historic Place Names on the Umpqua National
Gerald W. Williams, Ph D
May 1982

Oregon Geographic Names
Lewis A. McArthur
Oregon Historical Society Press
Sixth Edition 1992

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