Commission names the state’s fourth Olympic-class ferry “Suquamish”
Public Notice/Press Release: 2016 Ferry Naming Proposal
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: “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