I’ve always been disappointed that our state was named after George Washington, an individual (however great his accomplishments may have been), who could only have had a vague notion that this place even existed. He would have known something about our coasts and waterways from the voyages of Capts. James Cook, George Vancouver and Robert Gray, but he died before Lewis and Clark’s overland expedition.
Ideally, a place — especially a big place, like a state — should have a name that is specifically tied to the land, a name that would not be appropriate for anywhere else.
I still think “Tahoma” is the best option. “Cascade” sounds more like a city or county name than a state.
“Cascadia,” meanwhile, is a different thing and usually refers to the broader Pacific Northwest, including British Columbia.
“Chiawana” would be another possibility. It’s derived from the word Nch’í Wána, or “‘big river,” a term for the Columbia River in Sahaptin, a language spoken on both sides of the Cascades whose dialects include Yakama, Kittitas, Walla Walla, Palouse, Klickitat and Upper Cowlitz.
Nick Pharris, Tumwater