Posted by: Jack Henry | September 26, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Mukilteo

Here I am up in the Pacific Northwest again, working from my parents’ home. Over the weekend, I was lucky enough to hang out with my friend Liesel, my favorite buddy from high-school swim team. We met near the ferry she takes to Whidbey Island, from Mukilteo. I looked up Mukilteo and found out that the name means “good camping ground.”

I thought I’d look up some other city names from the area and see what they mean. For the complete, unedited list, you can click here. And my apologies to anyone that doesn’t like the term “Indian”; this article is full of it.

· Cle Elum: Salish term meaning “swift water.”

· Enumclaw: This was a traditional campsite for the Duwamish Indians. Translations of “Enumclaw” range from “place of evil spirits” (probably a European misconception of Native sacred places), “thundering mountain,” and “loud, rattling noise.”

· Issaquah: The hunting and fishing ground of the Snoqualmie Indians. According to some accounts, the Indians called the area “Ishquoh” which may have meant “the sound of the birds.” When pronounced in Indian, the word has a glottal stop which English-speakers have difficulty with and so they pronounced it as “squak” In 1899, the town was officially designated as Issaquah.

· Newhalem: Based on a Salish word which means “goat snare.”

· Okanogan: Based on the Salish word “okanagen” which means “rendezvous.”

· Quilcene: This was originally the home of the Twana Indians who apparently called it Kwil-sid. The name may mean “salt water people.”

· Salkum: Probably means “boiling up,” which refers to a section on the Cowlitz River where the falls are located.

· Seattle: is named for Suquamish Chief Sealth.

· Sequim: Located in the homeland of the S’Klallam Indian tribe, the bay was called Such-e-kwai-ing which means “quiet water” and was then Anglicized into Sequim (which is pronounced “skiwm”.)

· Tacoma: The Salish-speaking Indians in the area referred to it as Shubahlup which means “the sheltered place.” American settlers later named it Tacoma which is supposedly from Takohoma which has been reported to mean “frozen waters,” or “nourishing breast,” or “near to heaven” which may refer to the nearby Mt. Rainier.

· Tenino: This name comes from the Chinook word which means “meeting place” in reference to it being a meeting ground and trading place. In addition, the Tenino are a Shaptian-speaking tribe related to the Umatilla and the Celilo.

· Twisp: Appears to be from the Chinook word “t-wapsp” which means “yellow jacket.”

· Walla Walla: Named for the Walla Walla Indian tribe, a Sahaptian-speaking group linguistically and culturally related to the Palouse and Wanapam. Walla Walla is often translated as “many waters.”

· Wapato: From the Chinook word “wapatoo” which means “potato” referring to the camas root which was commonly used for food.

Washington State Ferry in Mukilteo

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

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