Tillamook County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 census, the population was 25,250. The county seat is Tillamook. The county is named for the Tillamook, a Native American tribe who were living in the area in the early 19th century at the time of European American settlement. The Tillamook were the southernmost branch of the Coast Salish. They were separated from their more northern kinsmen by tribes speaking the Chinookian languages. The name Tillamook is of Chinook origin (a trade pidgin, which had developed along the lower Columbia.) According to Frank Boas (Journal of American Folk-lore, Vol.11, No.40, Jan-Mar, 1898, pg. 23-38), The name Tillamook “means the people of Nekelim. The latter means the place of Elim, or in the Cathlamet dialect, the place of Kelim. (modern pronunciation, Nehalem). The initial t of Tillamook is the plural article, the terminal ook the Chinook plural ending- uke.” Since there was one village in the area of Nehalem bay; the area was referred to as Nekelim (Ne Elim=singular). There were at least four villages on the south Tillamook bay according to Lewis and Clark; the south bay was called “T-Elim-ook” (the plural of Elim), meaning many villages of Elim. (The Chinook word for water was “chuck” and the Salish word for wetland is “naslex”. The popular translation of Tillamook as meaning “land of many waters” seems to be 20th-century fabrication used in the tourist industry.)

Leave a Reply