Watching Our Water Ways

Environmental reporter Christopher Dunagan discusses the challenges of protecting Puget Sound and all things water-related.
Subscribe to RSS

Orca Network wants ferry to be named ‘Tokitae’

April 30th, 2010 by cdunagan

Today is the last day to propose a name for the new 64-car ferry now under construction by the Washington State Ferries. The names are to be narrowed down, if necessary, in the coming days with a decision coming in June.

Our friends at Orca Network have proposed the name “Tokitae” and are conducting an on-line petition campaign to garner support for this name, which relates to the last living Puget Sound orca being held in captivity.

Here’s the petition at, and here’s the rationale provided by Howard Garrett and Susan Berta of Orca Network:

“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.

Orca Network would like everyone to sign the petition by the end of the day today, but if “Tokitae” makes the finals, I believe there will be time to express support for your favorite

Some other good names also have been proposed on the naming website.

“Salish” from San Juan County Council: “’Salish’ refers to the Coast Salish people of Washington, British Columbia, and Oregon and is also the geographical name of the inland marine sea comprised of Juan de Fuca Strait, the Strait of Georgia, and the Puget Sound.”

“Al-ki” from Town of Friday Harbor: “’Al-ki’ is the Washington State Motto meaning ‘By and By.’”

“Kulshan” from Town of Friday Harbor: “’Kulshan’ is a name given to Mount Baker by indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest, meaning ‘White sentinel’ (ie: ‘mountain’).”

“Lushoot” from Town of Friday Harbor: “’Lushoot,’ short for ‘Lushoot-seed,’ is a member of the Salish language family, whose approximately twenty 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.”

If you would like to comment on any of these names or offer your own, you may e-mail the Washington Department of Transportation.

Tags: , ,

Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

One Response to “Orca Network wants ferry to be named ‘Tokitae’”

  1. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    I’d like to see the ferry named “Lolita”…that we never forget.

    Lolita, a name, a ferry to remember.

Leave a Reply

Before you post, please complete the prompt below.

(Not a trick question) What color is the pink house?

Notify me via email of follow-up comments (without commenting):

Available on Kindle


Follow WaterWatching on Twitter

Food for thought

"In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught."Baba Dioum, Senegalese conservationist