Help Support Samish Indian Nation's Drive to Name Washington Ferry 'Samish'


A new 144-car ferry is to be built to service three routes in Washington State, and the Samish Indian Nation is proposing that the name SAMISH be considered for review by the Washington State Transportation Commission for the vessel. The new ferry will shuttle passengers between the Mukilteo/Clinton area, the Seattle/Bremerton area, and the Anacortes/San Juan Island area.

"The meaning of the name SAMISH is the 'giving people' in proto-Salish origins," the tribe explains on their Facebook page 'Support Naming A WA State Ferry Samish.' They have already received letters of support from Senator Mary Margaret Haugen, State of Washington House Representative Kristine Lytton and Jeff Morris, City of Anacortes Mayor Dean Maxwell, City of Mukilteo Mayor Joe Marine, Skagit County Commisioners Ken Dahlstadt, Sharon Dillon, and Ron Wesen. They two and a half more weeks to go before they submit their proposal. In order for the proposal to be accepted by the Commission, they want to see strong community support.

"Facebook is the perfect way for us to get a ton of support," says Nikki Tesch, who is helping drive support. They are driving supporters to their Facebook page to get as many 'Likes' as possible to show the Washington State Transportation Commission "what a wonderful name SAMISH is for the new ferry."

“It will truly be a blessing and an honor if this really comes to fruition that the name Samish be placed on one of the state ferries," said Samish Tribal Chairman, Thomas D. Wooten "We feel that it is really fitting that our name is placed on one of the ferries since these waterways were traveled by canoes among the Samish people just like the community that we share will be traveling the same waters by ferry. We value Washington State and its commitment to honor Indian Tribes in this manner."

"The Samish Indian Nation has always held a deep-rooted respect for the traditions of sharing with its neighbors and chooses to carry on this tradition of contributing to the local community," says Tesch. "The Tribe’s historic area, which ranges from the mountain tops of the Cascades westerly along the hills, woodlands, and river deltas, arriving at the far western shores of the San Juan Islands, provides a backdrop for Samish history and cultural traditions that remain strong today. These lands have been inhabited for thousands of years by the ancestors of the Samish and their Coast Salish neighbors. These waterways were traveled on by canoes among the Samish people just like the community that we share will be traveling the same waters by ferry."