Orca Network wants ferry to be named ‘Tokitae’

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 ThePetitionSite.com, 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.

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