Where is the Salish Sea?

Everett Marina- Beyond the Salish Sea
Everett Marina

I’m often asked, “Where is the Salish Sea? I’ve not heard of it.” The naming of the vast waterway includes Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Georgia Strait up to Desolation Sound in British Columbia. It stretches from the Discovery Islands north of the Strait of Georgia to Budd Inlet at the south end of Puget Sound. The coastline encompasses the Pacific Northwest megalopolis, including Vancouver, BC, Canada, and the Seattle Metro area. Along with Bellingham, Port Townsend, Port Angeles, Everett, and Victoria, BC.

The name was adopted.

“Salish Sea” Wikipedia, Wikipedia Foundation 11 Sept 2023, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salish_Sea

The adoption of the term Salish Sea was first introduced by Bert Webber, a geography and environmental social studies professor emeritus at Huxley College for the Environment at Western Washington University. The intent was to complement the names Georgia Strait, Puget Sound, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, not replace them. Noting that it would raise awareness of taking care of the region’s waters and ecosystems.

Coast Salish People

The Coast Salish are the indigenous peoples who live in southwest British Columbia and northwest Washington along the Salish Sea and share a common linguistic and cultural origin. The Coast Salish are seen as one of the main cultural and linguistic branches of a larger group known as Salishan or Salish. Five divisions of the Salish language family are recognized, with Coast Salish and Interior Salish being the primary two. The Salish family consists of 23 separate languages.[9]  No overarching title exists for this area or even a commonly shared name for any waterbodies in any Coast Salish language.

Official recognition

In 2008, the British Columbia Geographical Names Office approved the resolution recommending that the Geographical Names Board of Canada adopt the name Salish Sea contingent on the US Board of Geographic Names. The name was endorsed in 2009. In a survey of residents of the general vicinity of the Salish Sea, only 9% of Washingtonians and 15 % of British Columbians could correctly identify the name Salish Sea.

In conclusion

The name Salish Sea is not the indigenous name of this area, and not many people recognize where it’s located. It’s a convenient name for a region in the Pacific Northwest that gives homage to the native people for whom their land was taken away.

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