Proposal to Rename Mount Rainier to “Ti’ swaq'”

Native Americans are seeking to rename Mount Rainier to Ti’ swaq’. There have been unsuccessful efforts over the years to name the mountain for Americanized variations of the name — Tahoma, Tacoma, etc. and the Native Americans say it should it should have its proper Native name. That name was believed to be the name “snowy mountain.” The “Ti’ swaq'” name is for the group Native Americans who lived on the mountain.

The tribes also note that the mountain is named for British captain Peter Rainier who was wounded while fighting Americans during the American Revolution.

Attempts over the years to give it an American name included naming it for Presidents Lincoln, Harding, and Harrison

Among the events pushing the naming is
The Day of 1000 Drums on May 30 in Tacoma.

The proposal has been made by Robert Satiacum of the Puyallup Tribe. Satiacum said that it is not a name change but rather a restoration of the name. He is one of the creators of

Satiacum said that the “name when when correctly pronounced, has so many clicks and glottal stops that it is virtually unpronounceable for modern tongues – his own included.” We have placed a request on the Facebook group page to get an .mp3 of the name.

According to the Bellingham Herald the pronunciation “tea-swawk” is acceptable, Satiacum said, though it really should be pronounced with more character given to the final K sound. To be more accurate, the word should end with a coughlike exhalation of air, Satiacum said. “Think of blowing out a candle.”

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15 Responses to Proposal to Rename Mount Rainier to “Ti’ swaq'”

  1. Pingback: Washington Abolishes Board on Geographic Name «

  2. Many Aho’s for your publishing this article, and getting the word out regarding my efforts.
    FYI, in regards to one of the responses, I currently have two Bills in this years legislation, and both have established traction, in both gallery’s respectively. The House Bill 1084 is one step from going to the floor, expected Feb 22, and Senate Bill headed to rules committee. Both Bills have been authored to re establish the Board of Geographical Places and Names.
    Day of a Thousand Drums is currently in the planning stages for Seattle this year.

  3. Update: The Bill SHB1084, Re Establishing Washington State Board on Geographic Names, was passed, and signed into effect, by Governor Gregoire, May 18, 2011

  4. The “new & improved” Board is to include a Tribal representative:) Aho Creator

  5. Loren Cayenne says:

    wow was just poking around and came across this artical
    and just wanted to say that is great that the ball is rolling for the restoration of the name.
    with that being said thank you

    Raven spirit wind

  6. Katherine Lillie says:

    With much respect to the Indian Culture, renaming Mt. Rainier would be like taking a part of my soul from me. I am a Seattle-lite. I have a huge family, most of whom lived on or near Mt. Rainier. The memories I hold as a child are very dear to me. Spending most of my life at Mt. Rainier made it home for me. I travel around the world, and whenever I fly back to Seattle, the first thing I see is Mt. Rainier, and I smile and I know I am home. Please don’t change the name, because most of my family is gone now, and all I have are memories – so Mt. Rainier is not just a place, not just a Mountain, but it has become part of me -it’s like part of my family. I am sure there are others who feel the same way. People who have only known it as Mt. Rainier, and all the memories built up deep in their soul. Mt. Rainier already has the perfect name.

    • Um… Well my name IS Rainier, and I was named AFTER the Mountain… and if I had a name in a native language, I would go by that too… I am not native-american, but I have do have native ancestors, and if there was a pre-existing name, what gives a person the right to come along and name that same historical marker as something else?

      I could almost understand if “Peter Rainier” came and named it himself, after he scaled to the top, but he didn’t. A dear friend of his named it after him, without any concerns of what the local people might’ve called that landmark prior.

      It doesn’t take a piece of my soul, but it would insult me if my name was “Kunta Kinte” and someone just came along and decided, “No, your name is… Toby.”

    • vogellaurel says:

      And if you can imagine how you feel, having this name taken from your cultural memory, use that imagination to create empathy for how so many names like this were stolen from the collective memory of the people who were here before we were–who lived much closer to her energies than any of us–imagine those souls, and the empathy in you will grow. I started calling the mountain Ti’swaq some years ago. I feel the name now represents something much deeper and connected in my own soul than the other name–I feel closer to her essence and the truth of her existance. The “people” who really knew this mountain were there much longer than we were. And Rainier never even walked her flanks or did more than view her from a distance.

  7. Katherine Lillie says:

    A friend of mine got back to me on my concerns of renaming Mt. Rainier. First of all, it’s real name as everyone knows was Mt. Tacoma and secondly, the magic of the mountain will still be the same. My memories will still be there, and maybe renaming it back to
    one of it’s original names, would be a good thing for Native American Heritage in the Pacific Northwest. As I thought about it, best of luck to you, my heart is at peace as long as the Mt. is still there and taken care of.

  8. Thank you, thank you for being part of the solution.

  9. The real name does not have “mount, Mt.” in it. It has nearly as many names as there are tribes surrounding it, tuquaba, tacobut, puskehouse, Tacoma, Tahoma tiswauk…
    Since the name restoration isn’t specifically for one tribe, it is for each and every Native American Indian person. A healing for all people, most importantly, “Our” all of us, Mother Earth, and “Our”all of us, our Heavenly Father, Creator, Maker. As per our creation story, that which creates it, if deemed necessary will be the one to change it.

  10. Juanita Stewart-Leon says:

    I first learned of this last year and have since refused to call it by the name “Rainier”. I don’t believe that it will ever be legally renamed, but I know that I tell any and everyone who will listen when I hear them call it by a name that will never capture the beauty of that mountain. I appreciate everyone’s efforts to bring this majestic creation, its TRUE name.

  11. J. Michael Wall says:

    For five years running (and prior to my retirement), my fourth grade students all learned, embraced and practiced what I feel is the most commonly accepted Native American name for the mountain; Tahoma (“She Who Brings Us The Waters.”)
    It never was Rainier; never will be. The same is true for the Cascade peaks Kulshan, Tacobia, Pahto, Lawalaclough, Wy’east, Seeksequa and any of the others whose true nomenclature I can pass along to the willing listener/learner. The Original Americans lived here, on the shores of the Salish Sea, 15,000 years before European explorers came to “visit.” Geophysical names were already in place, and out of respect alone they must be restored.

  12. L Bell says:

    A ‘strong’ dream came to me recently, that it ‘is again time’ to push for restoration of the name of the Mountain.

    I saw Robert T’Swak Satiacum had worked on this goal some years ago, as mentioned at the beginning of this thread.

    A reasonably detailed message will follow, as I have to correlate the informational search and results into a coherent message for reading.

    Before this, I’ll enter some names I learned some 41 years ago, and some others discovered since 1977. Names are peoples’ names for both a Man (who would not say his name), and the Mountain. Variations are due to difficulty in pronunciation by the English speaking immigrants. (If you know how Spanaway got it’s name, you know what I mean!)

    T’la-Acoma, Tacomah, Tacoma, Tahoma(h), Tlazoma, Acoma, and more. These names are from ancient peoples, some over 2500 miles apart, and refer to a startlingly similar-looking and acting visitor. It’s pretty interesting!

  13. lguit says:

    The previous comment was not what I had submitted. There are grammatical and spelling errors that are not in my post.

    Moderator, please delete the previous post (which begins with “A ‘strong’ dream”), of you can.

    There is no way for me to edit or delete the post!

    Apparently, no one else can either. (see support queries regarding ‘edit comment’ or ‘delete comment’.

    I will post the referenced message on a different system. Thanks, T’Swaq

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