Ferry Naming Proposals and Process 2014

Public Notice/ Press Release: 2014 Request for Ferry Name Proposals for the next 144 Car Ferry

Proposed Name: “Cowlitz”

Lead/ Sponsoring Entities:  Cowlitz Indian Tribe

Meaning/ Significance: The Cowlitz tribe provided key assistance with pioneer transportation and commercial activities in what some historians refer to as the Cowlitz Corridor which linked the Columbia River valley with South Puget Sound communities long before Washington Territory was established. The Washington Territorial Legislature honored the tribe by naming one of our earliest counties for them. This county includes a broad flood plain located at the mouth of the Cowlitz River at the Columbia River that was a swamp in pre-European settlement days which some authorities believe was the source for the meaning of the name Cowlitz, which is “capturing medicine spirit.”

Proposed Name: “Sammamish”

Lead/ Sponsoring Entities:  City of Sammamish

Meaning/ Significance:

The Sammamish people were a Coast Salish Native American tribe in the Sammamish River Valley. Sammamish is a blend of two Native American words – samena, which means hunter and mish, which means people.  They were also known to early European-American settlers as “Squak”, “Simump” and “Squowh”.  The largest Sammamish village was tlah-WAH-dees at the mouth of the Sammamish River. In 1855, the United States government signed the Treaty of Point Elliott with the putative leaders of most of the Puget Sound Tribes and they were relocated. Descendants of the Sammamish dispersed into other tribes, including the Suquamish, Snoqualmie and Tulalip

Proposed Name: “Chimacum”

Lead/ Sponsoring Entities:  Alumna, Chimacum Schools

Meaning/ Significance:

Chimacum was one of the least known tribes in Washington State. Because their language was not part of the larger Salish language found throughout the Puget Sound, they were culturally unique from the dominant tribes in the area. According to Quileute tradition, the Chimacum were a remnant of the Quileute band.  Because of disease and war their numbers were less than 100 by the mid-eighteen hundreds, when their treaty was signed. The tribe is now extinct, but some members of the S’Klallam and Skokomish tribes can trace their ancestry back to the Chemakum tribe.

Proposed Name: “Suquamish”

Lead/ Sponsoring Entities:  Suquamish Indian Tribe

Meaning/ Significance:

The ancestral Suquamish have lived in Central Puget Sound for approximately 10,000 years. The major Suquamish winter village was at Old Man House on the shoreline of Agate Passage at d’suq’wub meaning “clear salt water.” The Suquamish name translates into the “people of the clear salt water” in Southern Salish Lushootseed language. The ancestral heartland of the Suquamish people encompasses the north end of Hood Canal and of the Olympic Peninsula. Chief Seattle was an ancestral leader of the Suquamish Tribe born in 1786 at the Old Man House Village in Suquamish.


Ferry and Highway Naming