Jul 272011

I am breaking my blog fast because of a new discussion that will fascinate most Lummi Islanders.

Steve L. floated a trial balloon to see if there is any interest in changing the name of Lummi Island to something else. The ensuing discussion (you may or may not be on the mailing list) illustrates that changing the name of things is like opening Pandora’s Box.

When Pandora opened her box (which was actually a jar) she loosed the evils of the world.

I suppose one can make a strong case for changing our name. Yet, there are numerous reasons not to go through a name changing exercise. It is possible that evil will be turned loose but there are more mundane considerations. First of all, it’s counterproductive because there will never be consensus on a new name. Secondly, there are many more important things to spend our time and energy doing. Thirdly, even though Lummi Island might be confused with the Lummi Rez that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I suppose it’s bad from a marketing standpoint. That is if you are trying to develop and market property. Or, if you don’t want people to think you are an Indian.

But if you are just trying to hunker down and and stay out of sight the idea that people think the island is part of the Rez might be a very good thing. I actually think what really confuses people is that they have to drive through the Lummi Nation to get to Lummi Island. Ergo, it must be part of the Nation. Realistically, how many people who matter are that confused?

That said, here are my recommendations for a new name.

NotLummi Island—this would make it pretty easy and inexpensive to change address labels, income tax forms, etc. Could just handwrite or type “not” in front of Lummi.

Yummi Island—on the same theme. Everyone would need only a small bottle of white out to make the change.

Maui—real estate values would shoot up as the stupid people who are confused about Lummi Island being a part of the Rez would no longer be confused. Now they’d think we were in Hawaii.

Granger Island—Cliff F. argues in favor of a name change asking, “Does anyone really believe the Name Lummi accurately reflects the Island, its Residents and the Islands essence ?” No. But I think Granger Island might come closer to describing who we are (or who at least most of us are).

Wetzel Island—recognizing the kid who put us in the NY Times twice!

Mordor—we would be visited by legions of Lord of the Rings fans. Good for business. Many would wish to live here.

Out Of Service Island—for those who want to discourage visitors.

Sun Island—because you can fool some of the people some of the time.

Rodney Island—after the fellow who asked why we can’t all just get along.

Transition Island—my personal favorite.

I would enjoy hearing your recommendations for the our new name.


  10 Responses to “What’s In A Name?”

  1. Juliet:
    “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet.”

    Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

  2. I’m not really interested in changing the name of Lummi Island, cuz I like it. But, I was thinking, maybe there are some other place names we could change. Lets start by changing our country to the United States of Obamica. There are several advantages. The Congress would have more respect for the Office of the President, and perhaps they would be more receptive to accepting his wishes for raising the debt ceiling. It would show the World that we are a united people in support of our government leader. It would put an end to all the endless gridlock in the decision making by our government. It is amazing what we could accomplish, if only we were all to become Obamicans. We could also change our name with each new administration. Maybe in 2012, we can all be citizens of the United States of Romnica, or maybe we will be Bachmanians, or even Pawleticans. We need to be flexible, and not tie ourselves down to an antiquated name with bad connotations. After all, wasn’t Amerigo Vespucci an Italian?

  3. It seems quite simple.
    We used to be called Beach – heck we even have the school named after it.
    But that seems too simple. Long Beach is taken and now that I think about it, we don’t have any long beaches. How about Short Beach, or Short Beach With a Lot of Rocks.
    If sand defines a beach, then I guess we could call it No Beach.
    If Homeland Security gets involved, the name would be encrypted, and changed on a daily basis. We are awfully close to another country, and you can never be too safe.
    No, maybe just a nice military name – Island 23864-4Z Alpha.
    My favorite would be a N48-43,W122-41. We all rely on GPS to figure out where we are, so that would make life much more simple. Yep, that’s my choice.

  4. Be careful Mike, remember what happened between between poor old Henry Clay and James Polk, over Fifty-Four Forty or Fight! You didn’t vote for Clay did you?

  5. I really, really like the idea of changing the name. It does cause a lot of confusion and gives a misnomer to those who live on the island. But most of all, nobody who sees the name without hearing it first always mispronounces it. I can’t get my mom to stop calling it Looommi Island.

    Lummi isn’t even what the natives called themselves, so if we are trying to respect the inhabitants who used it for fishing in the 1700’s, it would NOT be by using the name that the invaders called them; Lummi.
    If you wanted to throw a little respect to the people who were fishing here when Europeans arrived, you could call it Skallaham. That is what they called it.

    Like Mike, I was going to suggest Beach. But there would be a lot of visitors driving around looking for the beach.

    Baker – It is the name of the highest point, and of an old island family.

    Does anyone know the origin of some of the other place names on the island? We could use one of those; Smugglers Island, Inati Island, Reil Island (really?).

  6. By the way, how do you get on that mailing list for name change supporters?

  7. People who want to get on the name change train can email
    Steve Luke
    I note many people have asked to be removed from the discussion.

    I have two more nominations:
    Over55 Island
    AslongaswehaveaferryI’mokay Island

  8. I know! Staten Island, and have the ferry cost a nickel!

  9. I suggest Looney Island – that describes most of us!

  10. I like Leslie’s idea the best. The asylum starts at the dock.

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