After weeks and weeks of super busy it’s Thanksgiving and I’m enjoying a few days off. I headed down to Graham to see my brother Terry and though I’ve done it several times, I just had to stop to take in this view of Mt Rainier.
The indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest called her Talol, Tacoma, and/or Tahoma, meaning the mother of waters in the Lushootseed language spoken by the Puyallup. Another meaning is Ta (larger) Koma (than Mt Baker) and other names include Tacobeh and Pooskaus.
Mount Rainier is definitely a mother to several waters including the rivers Carbon, Puyallup, Mowich, Nisqually, Cowlitz and several other tributaries... These rivers join Puget Sound to the northwest and southwest in three counties, King, Pierce, and Thurston. The Cowlitz heads south and empties into the Columbia River at Longview.
Personally I like the name Ti’Swaq pronounced “tea-swawk” (more or less in modern day tongues, with an exhalation on the final 'k' like blowing out a candle) according to Robert Satiacum Jr., of the Puyallup tribe. Ti’Swaq translates to ‘the sky wiper’. It touches the sky! There’s a movement here by local tribes to restore the mountain’s traditional names. A favorite of mine is Tahoma.
I think it’s somewhat ironic that the mountain was renamed Mount Rainier on May 8, 1792 by explorer Captain George Vancouver after his Royal Navy friend, Captain Peter Rainier, Jr. The surname Rainier has roots in Middle and Old English that mean “bringing rain” and further back in French Norman Germanic history it translates roughly to meaning advice, counsel, army. So even though it was renamed via conquest and after a man that never saw the mountain, meanings seem to persist regardless of intent.
I hope you too are enjoying some free time this long weekend to spend with family and friends and to relax a little. The next few weeks is my last big push of the year then Christmas. I’m really looking forward to it and have several days of vacation over the holidays before the brand new year, 2016!