Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Koma Kulshan: origins of the mysterious mountain moniker

Mount Baker from Gooseberry Point. Photo courtesy of Katrina Poppe
The history of humanity is etched upon the land we inhabit; the mountains, valleys, rivers, and bays share intimate stories with those who know how to listen. Since time immemorial, places have been endowed with names as a means of communicating significant cultural geography. Harvest locations, village sites, and mythological arenas all have a place in the landscape of those deeply rooted in their homeland, but today, when I look at a map, I understand little. “Mount Baker,” “Squalicum Creek,” “Bellingham Bay”… names in both Indigenous and Colonial tongues stare up at me, beckoning me to explore their history. 

James Alden 1857 painting of the San Juan Island with Mount Baker in the Background

Part of my commitment to this place is understanding its past, and so last summer when long time family friend, ethnohistorian, and author of the book Nooksack Place Names mentioned to me that Kweq’ Smánit was the Nooksack name for Mount Baker, I took note.  I had understood Koma Kulshan to be the Native American name for the mountain, but Allan explained that there is little linguistic evidence for this term. Our local chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society goes by the name Koma Kulshan, so at our last meeting, I brought up the issue of renaming the Chapter. During the ensuing discussion, members wanted to know the terminological history of Mount Baker, and more appropriate names for our Chapter. I was completely at a loss to answer these questions, but inspired by Allan, I set out to learn what I could. What follows is a short history of the various names for Mount Baker, the northernmost volcanic peak in the Cascade Range.

Captain Vancouver. Photo from belcarra.ca
The name Mount Baker first appeared in print in Captain Vancouver’s 1798 narrative of his voyage around Vancouver Island. As the story goes, his third-lieutenant, Joseph Baker, was the first to spot the mountain while they sailed into Dungeness Bay on April 30th, 1792 (Majors 1978, pgs 13-14; Vancouver 1798, pg 222). However, Spanish mariners were the first Europeans to see the Mountain (Roth 1926, pgs 875-876). In July of 1790 Quimper drew a sketch of the mountain and gave it the name La Gran Montaña del Carmelo, but his drawing remained unpublished until 1872 (Majors 1978, pgs 12-13).

The first documented Indigenous name for Mount Baker comes to us from the author Theodore Winthrop who traveled from Victoria, BC to visit the Lummi people on August 14th and 15th, 1853. Winthrop recorded the name Kulshan (Majors 1978, pg 16). Interestingly, Winthrop also gave a charged opinion on the name of the mountain, writing:

Theodore Winthrop. Photo from The American Portrait Gallery, by Lillian C. Buttre
Kulshan, misnamed Mount Baker by the vulgar, is their northernmost buttress, up at 49° and Fraser River. Kulshan is an irregular, massive, mound-shaped peak, worthy to stand a white emblem of perpetual peace between us and our brother Britons. The northern regions of Whulge [Puget Sound] and Vancouver Island have Kulshan upon their horizon. They saw it blaze the winter before this journey of mine; for there is fire beneath the Cascades, red war suppressed where the peaks, symbols of truce, stand in resplendent quiet. Kulshan is best seen, as I saw it one afternoon of that same August, from an upland of Vancouver Island, across the golden waves of a wheat-field, across the glimmering waters of the Georgian Sound, and far above its belt of misty gray pine-ridges. The snow-line here is at five thousand feet, and Kulshan has as much height in snow as in forest and vegetation. Its name I got from the Lummi tribe at its base, after I had dipped in their pot at a boiled-salmon feast. As to Baker, that name should be forgotten. Mountains should not be insulted by being named after undistinguished bipeds, nor by the prefix of Mt. Mt. Chimborazo, or Mt. Dhawalaghiri, seems as feeble as Mr. Julius Caesar, or Signor Dante. (Winthrop 1862, pg 47).

George Gibbs. Photo from http://stories.washingtonhistory.org
George Gibbs, an experienced ethnologist, was in the area around the same time ( June 1857-November 1860), as part of the Northwest Boundary Survey. Gibbs worked as an interpreter and geologist on a team which included surveyors, topographers, astronomers, and Native American guides and porters. The team was assembled to determine the location the 49th parallel (an imaginary line) on the ground (Richardson 2001). Gibbs recoded Kwud-shad as the Lummi word for Mt. Baker (Gibbs 1863, pg 37)[1].

Dr. Charles Buchanan. Photo from tulalip_mom.tripod.com
In a later, 1913 edition of Winthrop’s narrative, Dr. Charles Milton Buchanan, the physician, government agent, and superintendent of the Tulalip Indian Reservation provided a footnote explaining the precise meaning of Kulshan. He wrote:
'Kulshan' is a Lummi word indicating that the summit of the peak has been damaged, or blown off by an explosion ('just as if shot at the end,' as one Indian explained it). This word is used of other things damaged or supposed to be damaged in a similar manner, and it is not limited at all in its use to Mt. Baker. The term does not mean 'The Great White Watcher/ or 'The Shining One,' as commonly interpreted." (Buchanan in Winthrop 1913, pg 279)

It is possible that Buchanan's source for this information was William McCluskey (abt. 1862-1937), a half native man that spoke freely with outsiders. Historians Herbert Hunt and Floyd Kaylor cited McCluskey as their source for a brief etymology of the place name Kulshan providing the translation, "any long or slim object being 'shot at the end" in their book Washington, West of the Cascades (1917, pg 532). The early ethnographer Albert Reagan also consulted McCluskey in a short article published in 1928 (Reagan 1928, pg 347). McCluskey's mother was Lummi and his father was an early pioneer in Bellingham. Both of his parents died when he was young and he was raised by the Tulalip Missionary, Father Chirouse (1821-1892). He returned to the Lummi Reserve around 1878[2] and eventually became a government agent in charge of farming. In Edith Beebe Carhart's book, A History of Bellingham (1926), she shared McCluskey's views on the Indigenous name for Mount Baker:
Mr. McCluskey said he had talked it over with many of the old men of the different tribes, and he found that they all agreed that the name had something to do with the fact or legend as it might be, that the extinct crater upon the side of the mountain was once a living mass of flame as though, in the symbolism of the Indian, it had been shot at from on high by the thunderbolts of heaven, and carried an open wound.

Mr. McCluskey explains the significance thus: The verb Kulshilla is to shoot; the spot where the arrow or weapon entered the flesh would be the Kulshan; the point where it came out would be another word entirely, if an Indian were asked where he had been struck he would say, “This is the Kulshan.” So in his opinion, agreed to by the old men of the people, the name Kulshan was given to the mountain in ancient days to indicate the bleeding wound upon its snow-covered sides. It is noticeable that Mr. McCluskey puts the accent upon the last syllable. (Carhart 1926, pgs 74-75)

Carhart went on to share her opinion that Indigenous place names should be adopted by the white settlers:
It is much to be regretted that the Indian names are not more often used instead of the ordinary ones given towns and boats and homes, which would be equally appropriate anywhere. Out here, in the home of the Indian, we might at least pay him the compliment of retaining his names. (Carhart 1926, pg 75) 

While doing field work on the Lummi Reservation, the early ethnographer Reagan recorded an incident that expands on the lightning mythology that McCluskey referenced. He wrote: 
One day it thundered, the noise coming from a cumulus cloud southeast of us, toward the mountains from Lummi. The Indian with whom I was talking at the time said, "Do you hear the thunderbird?" I did not understand what he meant and asked him to tell me about the thunderbird and the thunder noise we had heard. He said: "You see, it hardly ever thunders here; but yonder in the mountains it quite often thunders. The thunder is caused by a great bird. You have seen the fish hawk catch a fish. Well, the thunderbird is many hundreds of times larger than a fish hawk. It is so large that it can carry a large whale in its talons from the ocean to its nest. The feathers of its wing tips are as long as a canoe paddle. This huge bird has its home yonder on Mt. Baker, where you see the clouds piling up now. Whenever this bird comes from its nest and flies about the mountain top it thunders and lightnings, and even when it is disturbed in its nest it makes the thunder noise by its moving about even there. Furthermore, when greatly disturbed or when in search of food it flies far from its mountain home, far out over this place. The flapping of its wings at these times causes the distressful, destructive winds and the furious storms. The lightning is caused by the quick opening and shutting of its powerfully bright, snappy eyes and the thunder noise by the rapid flapping of its monstrous wings. "This bird likes fire, and if it cannot find any it will send a streak of flame from its angry eye and strike something and start a fire. It is dangerous at these times, for the bolt of fire thus hurled will kill anything it strikes. To appease the wrath of the enraged bird we make a fire and the most possible amount of smoke in our houses as soon as we hear the thunder noise in the clouds." (Reagan 1919, pg 435)

Another mythological reference to lightning bolts damaging Mount Baker can be found in a Lummi Legend that was briefly summarized by early Bellingham historian, Lottie Roeder Roth in her 1926 book History of Whatcom County. Roth wrote: "The Lummis maintain that a long, long time ago the great spirit, "Sochhalee Tyee," became angry with the mountain and punished it by shooting it with fire from heaven, making a great wound that bled, burned and smoked (Roth 1926, pg 909).

Mount Baker was first climbed by Edmund Thomas Coleman on August 7, 1868. By the early 1900s, it was becoming a popular climb among the burgeoning ranks of alpine clubs such as Seattle’s Mountaineers, Portland’s Mazamas, and Bellingham’s Mount Baker Club. From 1911 to 1913, there was even a race from Bellingham to the summit of the Mountain and back, which brought National attention to the mountain, prompting massive alpine expeditions and entire magazines devoted to the subject of Pacific Northwest mountaineering. In 1916, Buchanan published a Lummi myth about Mount Baker in the December issue of the early outdoor life periodical, The Mountaineers. As a prelude to this story, Buchanan provided a further explanation of the meaning of Kulshan:
In the Lummi Indian tongue the mountain is called Kulshan. Kulshan means “shot at the extreme end or very point." It is not now known how long the mountain has borne this name nor exactly why it was given, but it is very certain that Kulshan has been Kulshan for many generations. One of the most intelligent of the Lummi Indians attributes the name to the fact that the mountain was once conical and that the peak itself was destroyed by volcanic eruptions and explosions. The summit is not now conical. The name Kulshan is applied to other things than the mountain—any object that is long, slim, or tall becomes “Kulshan” when shot at, struck, and affected at the end (Buchanan 1916, pg 32).

The Lummi legend that Buchanan goes on to share tells of a handsome young man named Kulshan who married two wives. One of his wives was very beautiful and was named Dŭh-hwähk. She was his favorite and bore him three sons. His other wife was named Whŭht-kwāy, and though she was not as beautiful, she was very kind. Over the years Whŭht-kwāy’s kindness won her favor in Kulshan’s heart and Dŭh-hwähk became jealous. Dŭh-hwähk contrived a plan to win back Kulshan’s love and when she thought that Kulshan was in a compliant mood, she complained that she did not like the way she was being treated; though she loved Kulshan dearly, she would leave, if he did not love her more. Even though he cared for her deeply, Kulshan quickly bid her farewell, thinking that he would break her resolve. Likewise, Dŭh-hwähk packed up her things and left, thinking that Kulshan would beg her to return. Dŭh-hwähk turned back many times hoping that Kulshan would call her back, and as she traveled down the mountain and over the hills, she had to stretch higher and higher in order to keep Kulshan in site. Finally, it came time for her to make camp, so she found the highest point around and camped in such a way that she could gaze over to Kulshan in the distance (Buchanan 1916, pgs 32-35). In time, Dŭh-hwähk was transformed into the mountain we now know as Mount Rainier.

Chief Joseph Hillaire. Photo from samblog.seattleartmuseum.org
Buchanan’s version of this legend was published verbatim by Herbert Hunt and Floyd C. Kaylor (1917) and in 1934 a version of this legend lacking the Indigenous name for Mount Baker was published by the ethnographer Bernard Stern, and then in 1953, yet another version of this legend was recorded by Ella Clark (Clark and Inverarity 1953, pgs 39-42). Curiously, Clark’s version of this story, though titled “Kulshan and his two wives” occasionally uses the term Komo Kulshan. As a footnote to mountain names elsewhere in the book, Clark provided the following explanation:
A Lummi Indian, Joseph [Raymond Kwul-kwul’tu] Hillaire [1894-1967][3], who lives a little farther north, said that the name [of Mount Rainier] was Duh-hwahk and that it means “clear sky.” When the sky is clear, he explained, Mount Rainier can be seen from the ancestral home of the Lummi near Mount Baker. Kobah, meaning “high mountain always covered with snow,” was the Skagit name for Mount Baker, Andrew Joe  [b. 1895, Puyallup?] told me; Takobah, “higher than Kobah,” was their name for Mount Rainier (Clark and Inverarity 2003, pg 28).

Just as Takobah was also pronounced Tacoma it is possible that Hillaire’s term Kobah is in fact our elusive mountain moniker Koma. In an article titled "Is it 'Mt. Tacoma' or 'Rainer,' What do History and Tradition Say?" James Wickersham provided numerous primary and secondary sources of ethnographic evidence for the terms Koma and Koba among Native Americans residing in Puget Sound. He shared a letter from Edwin Eels, the Indian Agent for the Puyallup in which Eels wrote, "In the Skadget language the word [Tacoma] is a little different, and is there called Ko-ma, and is applied by these Indians to Mount Baker, it being the mountain in that vicinity of the kind (Wickersham 1893, pg 9)." Wickersham's primary accounts include signed statements declaring Coba to be the name for Mount Baker. The first of these statements is dated Oct. 9, 1892, and is signed by six men living on the Puyallup Reserve: George Leschi, Bill James, Jack Simmons, William Bob, Bill Petowow, and Yelm Jim. A second statement dated October 20, 1892 is signed by Jack and Thos. Simmons who were raised near Port Orchard Bay and the White River (Wickersham 1893, pg 13).

Charles Easton. Photo from stumpranchonline.com
The first published use of the combined term Koma Kulshan appears in a 1912[4] publication by Bellingham resident and art Jeweler Charles Finley Easton (1858-1931) who wrote:
The real meaning of the Indian name for our mountain expresses infinitely more than the commonplace title by which it is known. Kwina, the last chieftain of the Lummi tribe, now upwards of eighty years of age [5], says that Koma Kulshan (pronounced kō-ō’mah’ kool-shän’) is the name by which Mount Baker was known in common with its tribe and the Nooksacks and Skagits. The meaning of Koma is White and Shining; of Kulshan, Precipitous, in other words, the White, Steep, Mountain. And it comes home to you, at Camp Heliotrope, in a manner peculiarly striking.”
This passage is published in a book entitled “Mt. Baker Cartogram, a Pictorial Brochure of the Great Koma Kulshan (kō-ō’mah’ kool-shän’) of the Lummis, the Wonderland of the Northwest[6].” Easton was the historian for the Mount Baker Club and he and his wife Ada compiled a scrapbook, which contains many maps, pictures, and historical stories about Mount Baker. In 1916 Easton took his scrapbook to the White House to lobby for the creation of a national park around Mount Baker. A bill was eventually introduced, but died of neglect.

Chief Henry Kwina. Photo from History of Whatcom County by Lottie Roth
Easton’s source for the name Koma Kulshan, Chief Henry Kwina (abt. 1834-1926), was a prominent figure in Lummi History. He and his brother Whilano (who was known to the whites settlers as Davy Crockett) watched their uncle, Chow-its-hoot, the head chief of the Lummi, sign the Point Elliott Treaty in 1855. When Chow-its-hoot died, Whilano became chief. Whilano appoint Kwina as sub-chief in 1865 and in 1874 when Whilano passed away, Kwina became the head chief of the Lummis and maintained that position until his death in 1926, at the age of 92. While a young man, Kwina worked as a messenger for Captain George Edward Pickett (later a General of Civil War fame). Kwina ran from Whatcom to Gooseberry point, and then canoed to Friday Harbor to deliver messages for Pickett. Kwina's mother was a Duwamish woman[7], which may account for his inclusion of "Koma" in the Lummi name for Mount Baker. 

Easton wrote about his interview with Chief Kwina in his scrapbook "Mount Baker, Its Trails and Legends (1999)." The conversation required an interpreter, and important details may have been lost in translation. One might speculate that Kwina gave two distinct names for the mountain in the languages of both his mother and his father, which were combined in translation and recorded by Easton as Koma Kulshan.

Other early uses of Koma Kulshan include the name of the Komo Kulshan Ski Club, which was founded in 1940. The National Forest Service also has a Komo Kulshan Guard Station/ Ranger Station that was built by the CCC in 1933 on Forest Road 11, West of Baker Lake[8].
Mount Baker and the Twin Sisters. Painting by Charles Easton

The Pacific Northwest historian Harry Majors provides some other ideas about Indigenous names for Mount Baker. He wrote that Kushan Koma was the name applied by the Lummi Indians to Mount Baker (Majors 1978, pg 16), which I have found nowhere else in print. Other names for the mountain with little substantiating evidence include the supposed Nooksack name Kollia-Kulshan, (translating to “white, shining, steep mountain”) and the Skagit name Ko-ma-el (translating to “white friar, great white watcher”) both recorded on the Washington Place Name Database. Early Mountaineer Edward Coleman reported the name Tukullum which he translated as “White Stone” in the August 3rd 1883 printing of the Whatcom Reveille. Majors later attributed this name to the Indians on the lower Skagit River, which he curiously called the “Koma Indians” (Majors 1978, pg 17). To add further confusion to the matter, Kulshan is listed as a Chinook Indian word, not a Lummi word in Lummi Indian How Stories (Beck, 1955, pg 121)[9]. Beck provides the etymological note that Kulshan signifies a wound.
The most conclusive writing on the matter can be found in Allan Richardson and Brent Galloway’s book, Nooksack Place Names, where accurate pronunciations and precise etymological meanings of several names for parts of Mount Baker can be found. Here we learn that according to George Swanaset (1871-1961), a fluent speaker of the Nooksack Language, Kulshan is actually pronounced Kwelshán in the Nooksack language, and is the name for the high open slopes on Mount Baker (not the peak itself). Richardson and Galloway noted that Koma Kulshan may be derived from the Nooksack kwó-mæ kwǝlšǽ·n which means “go up high” or “way back in the mountains shooting place,” which they determined was probably a phrase rather than a proper name (Richardson and Galloway 2011, pg 148). The authors also provided the proper pronunciation for the Lummi cognate Kwǝšέn and the Halkomelem (language of the people Indigenous to the Lower Fraser River) cognate Kwǝ́lǝ́xy. The Nooksack name for the actual peak of Mount Baker is Kweq’ Smánit, which translates to “white mountain.” Lastly, Richardson and Galloway provided the Skagit name for Mount Baker: Teqwúbe7 or Te-kómeh, which translates as “any snow-capped mountain.” This Skagit name is vaguely similar to that provided by Coleman above, and more similar to the name provided by Joseph Hillaire. Majors gave Puk’h’kowitz as the Clallam name for Mount Baker, and translated the term to mean “white mountain” (Majors 1978, pg 17). A variation of the Clallam term, P-kowitz, is recorded with the same literal translation in the Washington Place Name Database and can be traced back to a letter from James G. Swan to James Wickersham on February 3, 1892 (Wickersham 1893, pgs 4-5).

In summary, derivatives of the term Kulshan have a recorded history dating back more than 150 years to the founding of the first white settlements on Bellingham Bay.  There is ample linguistic and mythological evidence to confirm that Kulshan is the Lummi word for Mount Baker, but among the Nooksack, the term is applied to an arguably more culturally significant feature, the alpine slopes where game and berries can be harvested. The Nooksack have a completely different word for the snow-bound summit (Kweq’ Smánit). Linguistic evidence for the term Koma Kulshan is not nearly so conclusive. Though used by Chief George Kwina, the provenance is confusing since the root Koma likely comes either from the Skagit term Teqwúbe7 (meaning snow-capped mountain[10]) or the Nooksack phrase kwó-mæ kwǝlšǽ·n (hunting place up in the mountains). Due to Easton's use of a translator in soliciting this term from Chief Kwina, it is possible that Kwina's response was misunderstood. Historical evidence suggests that early mountaineer and historian Charles Finely Easton is responsible for popularizing the term Komo Kulshan.

Appendix: An early history of the use of the word Kulshan by white settlers

1903   Kulshan Lumber Company: Organized by Allen and Roray and D. Daun Egan. They purchased a block of tide land from V. A. Roeder near the inshore line of the Great Northern railroad, at the foot of Lynn Street, upon which they constructed a mill. (February 11, 1903. The Weekly Blade, Whatcom, WA; March 28, 1903, Fairhaven Times, Fairhaven, WA)

1903   Kulshan Avenue in Pleasant Valley (A township Northwest of Ferndale): Naming of this street is unknown, but in 1903, a Mr Lyman Seelye secured a building permit from the city clerk for an $800 residence at 2517 Kulshan Avenue. (February 25, 1903, The Weekly Blade, Whatcom, WA).

1903   Kulshan Lodge 224: A Fraternal Brotherhood that advertised meetings in October 2, 1903 Bellingham Herald and throughout the rest of 1903 and into 1904.

1903   Kulshan Street in Whatcom (now Bellingham): The Bellingham Herald Makes mention of this street in an engagement/marriage notice dated October 13, 1903. Kulshan is shown on the “Insurance Maps of Bellingham,” published by the Washington Sanborn Map Company, 1904. However, this street is labeled as Linden Street on Whitney’s Map of the Bellingham Bay Cities, circa 1890. Perhaps the street was renamed Kulshan when New Whatcom changed its name to Whatcom in 1901, or when the cities of Whatcom and Fairhaven consolidated to Bellingham in 1903.

1903   Town of Kulshan in Whatcom County: Kulshan was an unincorporated town near the junction of the Middle Fork and the North Fork of the Nooksack River, where Canyon Creek enters the Nooksack. A schedule of train service to Kulshan is posted in the December 9, 1903 Bellingham Herald. Kulshan shows up on Metsker’s Atlas of Whatcom County Washington published in 1923 (revised 1929). A cemetery of unknown age also bears the name “Kulshan” and is located nearby.

1904   Kulshan Club of Bellingham: Incorporated in 1904, this was a fraternity that eventually grew to 500 members.  In 1909 they constructed their own building that is located at 1127 11th Street in Fairhaven (used to be located at 1120 Finnegan Way).

1905   The Kulshan Yearbook: The Whatcom (Bellingham) High School Yearbook probably started with that name in 1905. A 1908 edition is listed as Volume 5.

1905   Steamship Kulshan: On April 12, 1905, the British Colonist, a Victoria BC newspaper, makes mention of a company in Bellingham that was planning to build a steel steamer for Bellingham-Seattle trade. The ship was in service from 1910 until 1929.

1906   Kulshan Pah-lo: A dog with this name won several prizes at a dog show that was reported in the May 18, 1906 British Colonist. The owner, R. G. Gamwell, later had a Cocker Spaniel named “Kulshan Hubbard” who won 14 prizes in 1910 (August 23, 1910 Bellingham Herald).

1907   Kulshan car: According to the Everson Valley Home, The town of Everson purchased a train car called a “Kulshan Car” in December of 1907. Kulshan Motor Cars were produced by the McKean Motor Car Company. According to a 1912 postcard, “The Kulshan is a gasoline railway motor car and resembles a submarine boat on wheels, and is apparently a cross between a flying machine and a torpedo boat. It is seventy-two feet in length, weighs 68,000 pounds, and was built expressly for the Bellingham Bay & British Columbia Railroad, and it is said to be the finest car of the kind ever put out by the McKean Motor Car Company, of Omaha, Nebraska.”

1909   Kulshan Male Quartett[sic]: Bellingham 1909.

1911   Kulshan Lodge No. 186 in Blaine: A Masonic Lodge chartered on June 14, 1911.

1916   Kulshan Lodge, No. 593 in Bellingham: A Fraternal Aid Union reported in the April 14, 1916 edition of the Bellingham Herald. Met in the Moose Hall in Bellingham.

1917   Kulshan Poultry Association: A Whatcom County group that organized to sell eggs and poultry in Seattle. Date of formation is unknown, but reported in 1917.

1918   Kulshan Hospital in Sumas. A new hospital was built in 1911, but may not have had the name Kulshan at that time. (see Bellingham Herald May 7, 1911) This hospital burned down in 1921.

1921   Kulshan Post of the American Legion in Bellingham: Probably Established some time before this date but first mentioned in the August 30, 1921 Bellingham Herald.

1925   Kulshan Cabin: Built by the Mount Baker Club.

1926   KOMO Newsradio in Seattle: Formerly KGFA, the station changes its name to KOMO in 1926. It isn’t known if KOMO is derived from an indigenous term, but much of its broadcast range is in sight of Mount Baker and other snow capped peaks.

1933   Kulshan Tavern in Fairhaven: Exact date not known, but sometime in the 1930s after prohibition ended.

1940   Komo Kulshan Ski Club of Whatcom County.

1945   Quil-Shan Lodge of the Order of the Arrow. The Order of the Arrow is an honor society that is part of the Boy Scouts of America and is dedicated to leadership and service. The lodge totem depicts a mountain goat on top of Mount Baker. This was later spelled Quilshan. The organization is modeled after Native Americans.


Beck, Ethel Fyles and Elizabeth Sykes Michaels 1955. Lummi Indian How Stories. The Caxton Printers, Ltd, Caldwell ID.

Buchanan, Charles M. 1909. The Origin of Mounts Baker and Rainier: The Indian Legend, The Mountaineer, Volume 9, pages 32-35, Seattle WA.

Carhart, Edith B. 1926. A History of Bellingham: Compiled from Newspaper Articles, City Directories, and Books of Local History. Argonaut Press, Bellingham WA.

Clark Ella E. and Robert Bruce Inverarity 1953. Indian Legends of the Pacific Northwest, University of California Press, Berkeley CA.

Clark Ella E. and Robert Bruce Inverarity 2003. Indian Legends of the Pacific Northwest, University of California Press, Berkeley CA.

Coleman, Edmond Thomas 1869. Mountaineering on the Pacific. Harper’s Magazine, pages 793-817.

Easton, Charles F. 1912. Mt. Baker Cartogram: A Pictorial Brochure of the Great Koma Kulshan of the Lummis : the Wonderland of the Northwest, Engberg Pharmacy, Bellingham WA

Easton, Charles F. and Ada Hamilton Easton 1999. Mt. Baker, Its Trails and Legends (A CD-Rom version of Easton's unpublished "Mt. Baker Scrapbook"), Whatcom Museum of History and Art, Bellingham WA

Gibbs, George 1863. Alphabetical Vocabularies of the Clallam and Lummi, Cramoisy Press, New York NY.

Hunt, Herbert and Floyd C. Kaylor 1917. Washington, West of the Cascades: Historical and Descriptive; the Explorers, the Indians, the Pioneers, the Modern, Volume 1, pages 512-514, The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Seattle WA

Majors, Harry M. 1978. Mount Baker: A Chronicle of its Historic Eruptions and First Ascent, Northwest Press, Seattle WA.

Reagan, Albert 1919. Some notes on the Lummi-Nooksack Indians. Transaction of the Kansas Academy of Science, pages 423-437.

Reagan, Albert 1928. Certain "Writings" of the Northwestern Indians". American Anthropologist, N.S., 30. pages 345-347.

Richardson, Allan 2001. Field Reports of the Northwest Boundary Survey, 1857-1862. The Journal of the Whatcom County Historical Society, Number 2, Bellingham WA.

Richardson, Allan and Brent Galloway 2011. Nooksack Place Names: Geography, Culture, and Language, UBC Press, Vancouver BC.

Roth, Lottie Roeder 1926. History of Whatcom County Vol. 1, Pioneer Historical Publication Company, Chicago IL.

Vancouver, Captain George 1798. A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean: and Round the World; in Which the Coast of the North-west America has been Carefully Examined and Accurately Surveyed, Volume 1, G. G. and J. Robinson, Paternoster-Row, and J. Edwards, Pall-Mall (London)

Wickersham, James 1893. Is it "Mt. Tacoma" or "Rainier," What do History and Tradition Say?" Proceedings of the Tacoma Academy of Science, February 8, 1893.

Winthrop, Theodore 1862. The Canoe and the Saddle: Adventures Among the Northwestern Rivers and Forests and Isthmiana, John W. Lovell Company, New York NY.

Winthrop, Theodore 1913. The Canoe and the Saddle: or, Klalam and Klickatat, John H. Williams edt., John H. Williams, Tacoma WA.


[1] Gibbs also provides the word, h’kwi-étsh as a general term for mountain (Gibb 1863, pg 37). 
[2] According to Betty Lou Gaeng’s article entitled “Apostle to the Indians of Puget Sount – conclusion” in The Sounder, McCluskey moved back to his home on the Lummi Reservation to be closer to Father Chirouse at his new post in mission in Mission City, BC.
[3] Joseph Kwul-Kwul-'tu Hillaire's daughter, Pauline uses the term Cuomo Kulshan for Mount Baker in a story about the Mountain's last potlatch which she recorded in 2008 on a CD titled "Lummi Legends, Legends Told By My Father, Kwul-Kwul-'tu."
[4] There is an article in the October 21, 1912 Bellingham Herald entitled “Books Recently Added to the B. B. Public Library” that includes Easton’s Mt. Baker Cartogram.
[5] Easton’s estimation of Kwina’s age is evidently erroneous. Easton had to interview Kwina prior to the 1912 publication of his Mt. Baker Cartogram, so Kwina would have been at most 78 years old.
[6] See also Majors 1978, pg 20.
[7] See "John and Clara Tennant" an article published as part of Bellingham's Centennial Celebration.
[8]Harold E. D. Brown was an employee of the Mt. Baker National Forest and there are papers about his reflections on the Komo Kulshan Ranger Station from 1931-33 at the UW archives.
[9] Etheyl Fyles Ransom Beck (1900-1958) was a social worker on the Lummi Reservation in the early 1930s until her husband died and she moved to Skagit County. Nearly 2 decades later, she wrote Lummi Indian How Stories, drawing heavily from her memories of her time with the Lummi and the published writings of early anthropologists such as Bernard Stern, Ruth Underhill, and Earl Coe (Beck 1955).
[10] See also Kuipers 2002, pgs 45, 97, 145, and 168 for proto-salish root words related to mountains.
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