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etcpt t1_jea08jy wrote

Sorry to burst your bubble, but:

>The first known use of the term "Salish Sea" was in 1988 when Bert Webber, a geography and environmental social studies professor emeritus in Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, created the name for the combined waters in the region with the intention to complement the names Georgia Strait, Puget Sound, and Strait of Juan de Fuca, not replace them.

To quote Dr. Webber,

>I knew that the tribes around our inland sea from both British Columbia and Washington State all shared a historical connection with the Coast Salish language. I also knew that the indigenous people occupying our inland sea were different from those living on the North West Coast of Washington State and those of the West Coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. As well, the indigenous people of the tribes living to the north on the British Columbia coast differed from those with a link to Salish languages. The name Salish Sea acknowledges the first peoples to live on the shores of our inland sea.

The first people who lived around this basin spoke a huge variety of languages, and probably didn't have one single word or name for this massive body of water. In fact, as David Buerge points out in his 2021 article "Why We Should Stop Calling it the Salish Sea",

>Webber misappropriates a linguistic term to identify his sea. Many native groups on its putative shore developed spectacular cultures over thousands of years, but not one ever identified themselves as Salish. It is a white term. It appeared in the 1840s when the Jesuit philologist, Gregorio Mengarini (1811-1886), was inspired to leave Italy and work as a missionary among the Flathead People in the American West.

He goes on to explain that this fellow traveled to Montana and lived with a people who called themselves Say LEESH. He became proficient in their language and wrote a dictionary of it, which linguists later used to realize that languages spoken by people living further to the west were similar, so they started calling them the Salish languages. Importantly, none of those people used this term to describe their own language - instead, as you'd expect, they each had their own terms. Similarly, they have different words to refer to this water, none of which is "Salish Sea".

So in summary, the term "Salish Sea" was coined in the late '80s by a WWU professor, using a term concocted by linguists from the name of a native people who live hundreds of miles away in present-day Montana, under which they lumped all peoples living in this area who spoke similar languages, even though none of them called themselves by it.

Now that's not to say that the current Indian tribes are unilaterally opposed to the name - a coalition of 70 tribes from around the region call themselves the Coast Salish Gathering and use the term to refer to this water in stating their desire to protect it. But if you want the historic name, from before European colonizers came to this land, then perhaps you should call it Tlahlch, like the S'klallam people do, or Kwailkw, as the Chemainus say.

(And just because someone wants to clarify some geographic distinction within a large body of water, kindly don't assume they're a colonialist "a-hole".)