Nuu-k’wii-daa-naa~-ye ‘Our Ancestor’ in the Forest:

How a community named and honored a 400 year old Sitka Spruce

By the Oregon Heritage Tree Program

Along the banks of Devil’s Lake, Nuu-k’wii-daa-naa~-ye (Our Ancestor) stands as an anchor through 400 years of time. Embedded in its trunk are annual rings that document its beginnings in a forest stewarded by Indigenous peoples to the development of and growth of Lincoln City.

The tree, and the name the community has given it, reminds all of us who visit it to connect with our collective past and recognize our ancestors, wherever they came from. Lincoln City councilor Riley Hoagland worked with Tim Stuart, a local resident and member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon, to officially name the tree and list it in Oregon’s Heritage Tree Program.

The Oregon Heritage Tree Program recognizes Oregon trees of statewide historical and cultural significance. The committee of agency staff and volunteers from across Oregon both research, review, and approve nominations as well as provide educational materials to promote the appreciation of trees in Oregon’s heritage. In lieu of in-person dedications due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oregon Heritage Tree Program collaborated with producer David-Paul B. Hedberg and videographer James Krzmarzick of Outdoor History Consulting to create videos that tell the stories of the newest heritage trees to the state program.