Indian Names



Native American Place Names

New residents and visitors to the Puget Sound and Western Washington region often experience difficulty in pronouncing our Native American place names. Hopefully this source will prove helpful for a bit of history, as well as for pronunciation and native meaning.

Name Pronunciation Native Meaning
Alki Point AL-key by and by
Algona al-GOH-nah valley of flowers
Cathlamet KATH-LA-muht stone
Chehalis shuh-HAY-lis shining sands
Chico CHEE-KOH name of a Native American chief
Chinook ski-NOOK name for a group of Native American tribes
Clallam County FLAL-uhm Native American tribe known as brace people
Claquato KLA-wa-toh high land
Cowlitz County KOW-litz capturing the medicine spirit
Dewatto de-WAH-yoh home of evil spirits that drove men crazy
Duckabush River KUHK-uh-boosh reddish face
Duwamish doo-WAH-mish people living on the river
Elwah River EL-wah elk
Enetai EN-a-teys crossing
Enumclaw EE-nuhm-klaw home of evil spirits
HOH River HO after a band of Quillayute Native Americans
Hoquiam HOH-kwee-uhm hungry for wood
Humptulips huhm-TOO-lips hard to pale
Illahee il-LAH-hee a Chinook jargon word meaning earth
Ilwaco IL-wah-koh name of a Native American tribe
Kalama kuh-LAM-uh pretty maiden
Kamikche kuh-MIL-chee valley
Kitsap KIT-sap brave
Klispan Beach KLIP-suhn sunset
Kula Kala KUH-la-KAH-la travel
La Push luh-POOSH mouth
Lilliwaup LIL-uh-wahp inlet
Lummi Island LUHM-ee inhabited by Lummi tribe
Makah ma-KAH the Cape people
Minnehaha MIN-ee-haw-haw water falls or laughing water
Moclips MOH-kilips where girls went as they approached puberty
Mowich Lake MOH-ich deer
Muckleshoot MUCK-il-SHOOT river junction
Muckilteo MUHK-il-TEE-oh good camping grounds
Nahcotta NAH-KAH-tuh name of a Native American chief
Napavine NA-puh-veyen small prairie
Neah Bay NEE-uh cape people
Nespelem nez-PEE-luhm flat land
Nisqually nis-KWAHL-ee square nose
Nooksack NOOK-sak mountain men
Ohanapecosh oh-HAN-up-pee-kahsh Oh, Look!
Olalla oh-LAL-uh many berries
Orting OR-ting prairie village
Oyehut OYE-hut trails end
Ozette oh-ZET name of a Native American reservation
Palouse pa-LOUSE name of a Native American tribe
Pilchuck PIL-chuck red water
Potlatch POT-latch to give
Puyallup pyoo-AL-0uhp generous people
Pysht PISHT fish
Queets KWEETS named after Quaitso Native Americans
Quilcene KWIL-seen salt water people
Quillayute KWIL-uh-yoot river with no head
Quinault kwin-AWLT largest village of Native American tribe in valley
Samish SAM-ish hunter
Sammamish sam-MAM-mish named for a Native American tribe
Satsop SAT-suhp on a stream
Sauk SAWK named for a Native American tribe
Seattle see-AT-uhl named after Native American chief Sealth
Sequim SKWIM quiet water
Sekiu SEE-kyoo Calm water
Shilshole shil-SHOHL name of a Native American tribe
Shuksan SHUK-san rocky and precipitous
Similk Beach SEYE-milk salmon
Skagit SKA-jit name of a Native American tribe
Skamania skuh-MAY-neeuh swift water
Skokomish skoh-KOH-mish fresh water people
Skookmchuck River SKOO-kuhm-chuck strong water
Skyomish sky-KOH-mish inland people
Snohomish snoh-HOH-mish the warriors, the braves
Sol Duc Hot Springs SAWL-duhk sparkling water
Spanaway SPAN-a-way reverse of yawanapsbeautiful water
Steilacoom STIL-uh-kuhm pink flower
Suquamish soo-KWAH-mish chief Sealths grave
Swinomish Slough swin-OH-mish named for a Native American chief
Tacoma tuh-KOH-muh near to heaven
Taholah tuh-HOH-luh named for a tribal chief of Quinault Native Americans
Tahuya tuh-HOO-yah that done
Tatoosh ta-TOOSH Chinook word meaning breast
Tenino ti-NEYE-noh fork or junction
Tillicum TIL-i-kuhm Chinook jargon for friend
Tokeland TOHK-luhnd named for Native American chief Toke
Tukwila tuhk-WIL-lih land of hazelnuts
Tulalip Bay too-LAY-lip small mouth bay
Tumwater TUM-water falling water
Wollochet Bay WOH-loh-chet squirting clams
Washougal WAW-shoo-guhl rushing water
Wauna WAW-nuh strong or mighty
Willapa WIL-uh-puh many oysters
Winona weye-NOH-nuh first born daughter
Wynoochee River weye-NOO-chee shifting
Yelm YEL-m heat waves rising from the earth



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