The name of the Coquille resembles the French word for "shell". This has led to speculation that the name was attached to the Indian people by French Canadian voyageur trappers working for the North West Company, because of the people's diet of shellfish and use of shells as personal ornament. However, a report written for the modern Coquille Indian Tribe suggests that the name comes from a mispronunciation of some native word, possibly for a river, geographic place, or person.
The Coquille are one of the Tututni tribes, which included the Coquille (Upper Coquille, Mishikwutinetunne) tribe, Tututni tribe, Shasta Costa tribe and Euchre Creek (Yukichetunne) tribe. Subtribes of Tututni tribe include the Tututunne, Naltunnetunne, Mikonotunne, Chemetunne, Kwatami, Chetleshin, and Kwaishtunnetunne.
The Coquille people spoke Coquille dialect of Lower Rogue River (AKA Tututni-Chasta Costa-Coquille) language, an extinct Pacific Coast Athabaskan language classified as part of the Oregon Athabascan subgroup.
Human occupation of the coastal areas of the Coquelle dates back as far as 8,000 years, and 11,000 years in inland areas. Fish traps used on the lower Coquille River have been dated back at least 1,000 years. Extensive oral histories of the Coquille have been collected and preserved at the Coquille Indian Tribe Library in Coos Bay, Oregon.
Modern scholars have documented an extensive network of trails, footpaths, and canoe routes that the Coquille people had developed by the time of contact by the North West Company's Alexander McLeod in 1826.
Mid-19th century to the present
After the treaty of 1855, the Coquille people were forced to move to the Coastal Indian Reservation (now the Siletz Reservation). Today Coquille people may be part of one of two tribal entities: the Coquille Indian Tribe or the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz.
The Rogue River Athabascan tribes (including Coquille), Takelma, Latgawa and Shasta peoples were in 19th century collectively known as Rogue River Indians.
- Ivy, Donald B (October 1999). "Report: This report was produced and published for public consumption by the Coquille Indian Tribe" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- Gaston, Joseph. "The Indians of Old Oregon: Centennial History of Oregon". Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- "Tututni-Chasta Costa-Coquille". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2014-04-05.
- "Coquille Indian Tribe Library". Coquille Indian Tribe. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- Byram, R. Scott (January 2002). "Brush Fences and Basket Traps: The Archaeology and Ethnohistory of Tidewater Weir Fishing on the Oregon Coast". Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- Zybach, Bob; Don Ivy (2013-01-04). "Coquelle Trails: Early Historical Roads and Trails of the Ancestral Coquille Indian Lands (Vols. I & II)". Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- Wasson, George B. "Growing up Indian : an Emic perspective". Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- Hall, Roberta L. The Coquille Indians : yesterday, today and tomorrow. Lake Oswego, Or. : Smith, Smith and Smith Publishing, 1984.
- Hall, Roberta L. Oral traditions of the Coquille Indians. 1978.
- Hall, Roberta L. People of the Coquille Estuary : native use of resources on the Oregon coast : an investigation of cultural and environmental change in the Bandon area employing archaeology, ethnology, human biology, and geology. Corvallis, Or. : Words and Pictures Unlimited, 1995.
- "Native Americans of the Coos Bay Area Pathfinder". CoquilleValley.org. Retrieved 2014-04-06.