Yaquina.info

Last update: 25 August 2009
Webmaster and Web Site Owner: Range Bayer, Newport, Oregon. Email him.


Purpose of Yaquina.info

The goal of Yaquina.info is to host web pages about Oregon natural history, particularly along the Oregon central coast. Web pages about environmental issues may also be included.


Origins of "Yaquina," Its Pronunciation, and Its Symbolization of a Sense of Place

"Yaquina" originally referred to an Indian tribe. The language of the Yaquina tribe is now extinct, so I do not know how Yaquina tribal members would have pronounced Yaquina. Long-term residents of the Yaquina Bay area near Newport, Oregon now pronounce Yaquina something like "yah KWIN ah" or "yah kwin nah." Newcomers may try to pronounce it as if Yaquina was of Spanish origin or in another way that identifies them, like a shibboleth, as being from another place.

Transcription of the name of the Yaquina tribe has also resulted in different spellings. Examples include Iakon, Yakone, Youikeones, Youkone, Yacone, and Acona (p. 816 in L.A. McArthur. 1982. Oregon Geographic Names. Fifth Edition. Oregon Historical Society).

According to Dorsey (Jour. Am. Folk-lore, 111, 229, 1890), the Yaquina tribe had 19 villages to the north and 36 villages to the south of the Yaquina River and Bay. Byram's article Colonial Power and Indigenous Justice: Fur Trade Violence and Its Aftermath in Yaquina Narrative (2008, Oregon Historical Quarterly Vol. 109, Issue 3) reveals that the Yaquinas had a troubled history with fur traders.

Today, Yaquina also refers to a river, a bay, a headland, and an abandoned town along the central coast of Oregon where this tribe had formerly been.

Yaquina can symbolize a "sense of place" or sense of geography that long-term residents may have for wherever they may be. However, the current place-holders (residents) probably have a completely different sense of place than the former residents of the Yaquina tribe, who depended on the land for survival. The lack of concreteness in the pronunciation of Yaquina and in its spelling can also symbolize what may be difficult for us to put into words about our "sense of place" and how perspectives change over time.


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