How Do You Pronounce That?

How Do You Pronounce That?

People encountering the Coquille Indian Tribe are often puzzled about the pronunciation of our name. The southwestern Oregon town of Coquille and the nearby Coquille River are both pronounced “ko-keel.”  So why does the Tribe pronounce its name “ko-kwel”?

The history behind that question is complex, but here’s a shorthand version:

  • Our ancestors traditionally trapped and ate lamprey, an eel-like fish. One name for the lamprey was “scoquel.”
  • As fur traders and settlers moved into Western Oregon, the river and the people living near it became known as “Coquell” or “Coquelle.”
  • Early treaties identified the tribe as “Coquille” – spelled like the French word for “shell.”
  • Sometime after a city of that name was established, the pronunciation shifted from “ko-kwel” to “ko-keel.” (Local merchants reportedly wanted to sound fancier.)
  • Today, the town and river are “ko-keel,” but the Tribe is “ko-kwel.”


  • Tribe Responds to COVID-19

    The Coquille Indian Tribe is taking appropriate steps in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. In addition to the measures undertaken by The Mill Casino-Hotel & RV Park, the tribal government administration is acting to protect the safety of our employees and tribal member families, while maintaining essential services to our membership.

    In the past few days, the tribe has canceled some group events.  We also have curtailed nonessential travel by our employees. We have been communicating to membership daily for the past week, keeping them informed about the status of the epidemic in both Oregon and nationwide, along with the tribe’s actions.

    Starting Monday, many of our tribal government employees will begin working from home. We are keeping our health center open. Other tribal government facilities will either close for the next two weeks or remain open on a limited basis, with minimal staffing. Like other local governments, we will evaluate the unfolding situation and respond accordingly.

    We offer our best wishes to the entire community in this challenging time.