NW Aboriginal Place Names

   I have developed a keen interest in First Nation Aboriginal Place names for British Columbia. In particular, I'd like to start accumulating the names of physical landmarks such as islands, mountains, rivers, streams etc. I'd also like to include any names for Washington, Oregon and Northern California as far South as Mt. Shasta. Part of my reason for wanting this information is curiosity and another deeper part of me wants to be more aware of and grounded in the local history of my adopted homeland. Even back in Syracuse, NY, my former home, I had extensive connections with First Nation people in the Onondaga Nation and played music at their festivals and celebrations and shared many meals together. As conquerors or more correctly, displacers of the aboriginal peoples of this continent, our European ancestors held a dim view of their sacred traditional places and territorial rights. I'd like to help correct those aggregious errors by restoring or reacquainting people with the original names of some of the features of the landscape whose Caucasian names they take for granted.

   A perfect example of this is Mt. Baker in Northern Washington. I always assumed it was just Mt. Baker and never had any other name until one time when I was up on the 3rd peak of Mt. Seymour in North Vancouver, BC. I was with my wife and daughter and we were just gawking at the view and I was pointing out the peaks and their names when from behind a rock, a voice piped up with something to the effect of "ahem! That's not what we call it" I was a bit taken aback, first because we thought we were the only ones up there and my wife had just proclaimed herself the queen of the universe and second because I thought I knew the name of Mt. Baker. But I was more curious than offended so I asked what he meant. After a bit of friendly conversation and establishment that he was an BC aboriginal person, he informed me that his people knew the mountain I called Baker as Mt. Kulshan or simply Kulshan. In that instant a whole bunch of things fell into place like all the other references in the Bellingham, WA area to Kulshan and I realized how conceited I had been. It's that conceit and complacency that I'd like to help break apart and in some small way, help people who live in this area or who come to visit to reconnect with it's very vital and still living heritage of aboriginal ancestry.

   Any names that I come across or that are sent to me will be posted on the site for everyone's personal enjoyment and edification. Please contact me by email with any names that you'd like to contribute and I'll cite you and provide a link to your website if you supply that, too. Be sure to include the names currently used on standard maps to help with the correlations and your references that you got the information from, if appropriate so I can provide that information also. Contact info for me is on my homepage. Thanks a whole bunch and let's see if we can't open a few more eyes and hearts and minds to our mutual heritages.