Call Mount Rainier By Its Indigenous Name

Target: US Board of Geographic Names Chair, Marcus Allsup

Goal: Call Tahoma by its rightful name, not after an imperialist.

The Puyallup Tribe is leading efforts to change Mt. Rainier’s official name. The mountain, located near Seattle, WA, has been called Tahoma/Tacoma by the indigenous inhabitants of the area since time imemorial. The Puyallup tribe is joined by others across Washington State in calling for an official name change back to the indigenous name.

Təqʷuʔməʔ – or Tahoma/Tacoma – is a Twulshootseed word (pronounced “Taquoma”) which translates to a number of things, one of which is “mother of all waters.” While Tahoma was always called as such by the Pacific Northwest’s native inhabitants, the mountain became known to colonists as Rainier at the end of the 18th century.

Mt. Tahoma had a name long before colonists came to steal indigenous lands. Continuing to call Tahoma Mt. Rainier is a constant reminder of the traumas experienced by the area’s indigenous inhabitants. Keeping the colonial name is also a perpetuation of centuries of disregarding indigenous lives, custom, and culture. As they did with Mt. Denali in Alaska, the US Board of Geographic Names and Congress must act urgently to restore Mt. Tahoma’s rightful name. Call on the board’s chair, Marcus Allsup to re-establish Tahoma’s name.


Dear Mr. Allsup,

The US, and the colonial settlers that came before the establishment of the United States, have a long history of disregarding indigenous lives, customs, and culture. They stole the land tribes across the country had been living on since time imemorial.

Indigenous groups, led by the Puyallup Tribe in Washington State, are calling for the restoration of Mt. Tahoma’s rightful name. The name Rainier is an imperial legacy, and its use in the current age is a direct continuation of the same harmful colonial practices against the US’s indigenous inhabitants. Mr. Allsup, please be on the right side of history and act urgently to restore Tahoma’s rightful name.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Washington State Department of Transportation

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