The Next Ferry Will Be Named …

I don’t know.

But I do have the seven possibilities. The Washington State Transportation Commission, which is responsible for naming transportion things, will touch on the names at its meeting next week, but won’t pick one until July.

The first kwa-di-Tabil-class ferry has been named the Chetzemoka. Now the commission will choose the name of the second boat, and maybe even the third.

Here are the seven proposals that met the criteria, copied and pasted directly from the commission’s Web site:

Salish, from the San Juan County Council. It refers to the Coast Salish people and is the new name of the inland sea that includes Puget Sound.

Proposed Name #1: Al-ki

Meaning/ Significance: Al-ki is the Washington State Motto meaning “By and By

Proposed Name #2: Kulshan

Meaning/ Significance: Kulshan is a name given to Mount Baker by indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest, meaning “White sentinel” (ie: “mountain”)

Proposed Name #3: Lushoot

Meaning/ Significance: Lushoot, short for Lushoot-seed, is a member of the Salish language family, whose approximately 20 surviving languages are spoken from northern Oregon to central British Columbia, and from the Pacific coast eastward into Montana and along the British Columbia-Alberta border.


Proposed Name: “Tokitae”

Lead/ Sponsoring Entities: The Orca Network

Meaning/ Significance: “Tokitae” is a Coast Salish greeting meaning “Nice day, pretty colors”, and is also the name given to an orca captured at Penn Cove, near Keystone, in 1970. Tokitae was brought to a marine park in Miami 40 years ago, where she was put into service as an entertainer, and named Lolita. She is the last survivor of the 45 Southern Resident orcas captured in WA state during the capture era of the 1960s and 70s. Such captures were later banned in Washington State waters in 1976.


Proposed Name: “Kennewick”

Lead/ Sponsoring Entities: City of Kennewick

Meaning/ Significance: Kennewick has several native meanings: “winter paradise”, “winter haven,” “grassy place” and “grassy slope.” The name Kennewick comes from the Indian name Kin-i-wak. Kennewick was the gathering place for Native American peoples of the Chemnapums, Nez Perces, Walla Wallas, Yakamas, Cayuses, Wanapams, and Umatillas. Kennewick, located along the banks of the Columbia River, has been a major transportation artery since 1811, when fur traders began exploring the northwest. By the 1860s steam-driven riverboats ferried men and their freight up the Columbia.


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.”

For me, Tokitae is by far the best. For one, I just like saying it. Like Chetzemoka. Plus I was around when they were catching all those orcas. I remember cruising past the cove on Beach Drive where Namu was.