PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Washington state’s Puyallup Tribe has launched a new effort to rename Mount Rainier to its original name, “Mount Taquoma.”
All Washington-based tribes have been called to help make the change happen, according to KIRO 7. Officials with the tribe said restoring the mountain’s original name would right a historical wrong.
In the Native language Twulshootseed, the mountain is called təqʷuʔməʔ — pronounced “Taquoma” — and is where the city of Tacoma gets its name. “Təqʷuʔməʔ means the mother of all waters in one translation,” according to a preservation officer for the Puyallup Tribe Brandon Reynon.
“Fish, berries, trees. All the water that supports life comes from the mountain,” Reynon said. “She is important for us because she gives us life,” he said.
European explorers arrived in the area in April of 1792. British explorer Captain George Vancouver reportedly named the mountain after his best friend, Peter Rainier, an admiral in the British Navy who fought against the United States in the Revolutionary War.
“Never once saying, ‘Hey, you people have lived here for thousands of years. What do you call this?’” Reynon told KIRO 7. “It was never even a concept. And it just shows the lack of respect we people got.”
Regional tribes have begun now working together to make one recommendation to the public and lawmakers on the future name of Mount Rainier. The move will need to be approved by the U.S. Board of Geographical Names and Congress.
Following a roughly four-decade effort, Alaska renamed Mount McKinley to Mount Denali in 2015.