De-colonizing Cascadia through Indigenous Storytelling

De-colonizing Cascadia through Indigenous Storytelling

Native American stories give us the opportunity to create deeper meaning and connection, both with each other and with the world in which we live. Now is the time to build a new narrative for the future through the communication of this ancient knowledge.

New Cascadia Membership Designs Are Here!

New Cascadia Membership Designs Are Here!

We love Cascadia, believe in bioregionalism as a philosophy to save our region and planet, and are tired of the craziness and insanity that has become commonplace in our world today. We want to be able to directly impact the issues that we care about, and so those living on this planet can have a real life and livelihood better than our own, rather than worse.

Your Chinook Wawa Word of the Day: Burdash


[BUR-dash] or [BAR-dash] — noun.

Meaning: Hermaphrodite; intersex; neuter; genderless.

Origin: Canadian French berdache > Italian bardassa > entering European languages via Moorish Spain from Arabic bardaj, “slave” > Persian bardah, “prisoner”.

In Chinook Wawa, the word burdash was commonly used to refer to accidental or incidental hermaphroditism or lack of gender, such as by castration, “burdash cayoosh” (gelding), and “burdash moos-moos” (steer), or unusual birth, as seen in “burdash kiuatan” (mule).

The word also saw extensive use as a sociological term for those that assumed the gender identity of the opposite sex. Alternative gender roles were widely shared feature of many native cultures, with documented examples in over 155 First Nations in the US and Canada. In about a third of these groups, a formal status also existed for females who undertook a man’s lifestyle, becoming hunters, warriors, and chiefs. They were sometimes referred to with the same term for male berdaches and sometimes with a distinct term—making them, therefore, a fourth gender. (Thus, “third gender” generally refers to male berdaches and sometimes male and female berdaches, while “fourth gender” always refers to female berdaches.)

Because so many First Nation cultures were disrupted, or had disappeared before they were studied by anthropologists, it is not possible to know the absolute frequency of these roles. Those alternative gender roles that have been documented, however, occur in every region of the continent, in every kind of society, and among speakers of every major language group.


“Berdache” had become the accepted anthropological term for these roles despite a rather unlikely etymology; it can be traced back to the Proto-Indo-European root *wela- “to strike, wound,” from which the Old Iranian *varta-, “seized, prisoner,” is derived. In Persia, it referred to a young captive or slave (male or female). The word entered western European languages perhaps from Muslim Spain or as a result of contact with Muslims. By the Renaissance it was current in Italian as bardascia and bardasso, in Spanish as bardaje (or bardaxe), in French as berdache, and in English as “bardash” with the meaning of “catamite”— the younger partner in an age-differentiated homosexual relationship. Over time its meaning began to shift, losing its reference to age and active/passive roles and becoming a general term for male homosexual. In some places, it lost its sexual connotations altogether. By the mid-nineteenth century, its use in Europe lapsed almost completely.

In North America, however, “berdache” continued to be used, but for a quite different purpose. Its first written occurrence in reference to third and fourth gender North American natives is in the 1704 memoir of Deliette. Eventually, its use spread to every part of North America the French entered, becoming a pidgin term used by Euro-Americans and native people alike.

Although there are important variations in berdache roles, they all shared a core set of traits:

Specialized work roles. Male and female berdaches were typically described in terms of their preference and achievements in the work of the “opposite” sex and/or unique activities specific to their identities.

Gender difference. In addition to work preferences, berdaches were distinguished from men and women in terms of temperament, dress, lifestyle, and social roles.

Spiritual sanction. Berdache identity was widely believed to be the result of supernatural intervention in the form of visions or dreams, and/or it was sanctioned by tribal mythology.

Same-sex relations. Berdaches most often formed sexual and emotional relationships with non-berdache members of their own sex.


The first use of the term in an anthropological publication was by Washington Matthews in 1877. In describing Hidatsa miáti he wrote, “Such are called by the French Canadians ‘berdaches.’” The next anthropological use was in J. Owen Dorsey’s 1890 study of Siouan cults. Like Matthews, he described “berdache” as a French Canadian frontier term, and following Alfred Kroeber’s use of the word in his 1902 ethnography of the Arapaho, it became part of standard anthropological terminology when discussing or referencing a person who identifies with any of a variety of gender identities which are not exclusively those of their biological sex.

In recent years the term has come to be considered offensive by many First Nations communities because of its pejorative and non-native etymology. In 1993, a group of anthropologists and natives issued guidelines that formalized these preferences. “Berdache,” they argued, is a term “that has its origins in Western thought and languages.” Scholars were encouraged to drop its use altogether, and instead use the word  “two-spirit”, a modern word coined from the Ojibwa niizh manidoowag, or use tribal specific terms for multiple genders. Today the term “two-spirit” is identified as the preferred label of contemporary gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender native peoples.

Tsalxhaan - At the Northern border of Cascadia

Tsalxhaan - At the Northern border of Cascadia

In a continuation of our Native Placenames series we present Tsalxhaan. This mountain at the norther boundry of the Cascadian bioregion between Alaska and British Columbia represents one of the most dramatic peak faces in the world as it raises to 5,325 feet (4671 meters) a mere 13 miles (20 kilometers) from the sea shore.

Team Cascadia partners with Western Washington Premier League to build future team.

Team Cascadia partners with Western Washington Premier League to build future team.

With the goal of growing Team Cascadia at home, and a mission to take “The Dougs” global, the Cascadia Association Football Federation has entered a Partnership with the Western Washington Premier League.

Our New Diplomat Departments Forming for 2020

Our New Diplomat Departments Forming for 2020

As we enter into 2020, our Cascadian Diplomats are organizing themselves into six different core departments they have deemed to be the highest priority for building the Cascadia movement, the independence of the Cascadia Bioregion, building a network of bioregional movements around the world, and improve the well being and liveability of our bioregion.

Your Chinook Wawa Word of the Day: Alki


[AHL-kee] (historical) or [al-KAI] (modern) — adverb.

Meaning: Eventually; soon; someday; the future; times to come; in a little while

Origin: Chinook  alkekh

The word “alki”, appeared as the slogan on the seal of Washington Territory, and is the current state motto of Washington, and is usually translated as meaning "by and by", "soon", "hold on", and other connections to the future. In ordinary use it is somewhat equivalent to the Mexican Spanish mañana, meaning sometime in the near future, or an indeterminate time away, perhaps never. It can be used as a verb auxiliary indicating the indefinite future tense.

The phrase “laly alki” can be used to mean "in a while" or "some time soon" or other point in the immediate near future, as seen in "alki nesika klatawa kopa nika boat" (soon we will go in my boat) or "alki nika klatawa" (I will go soon) or "tenas alki" (in a little while).

The phrase "Iskum dolla, alki pay" (to borrow; to take out a loan) literally means get money, pay later, an apt expression if there ever was one. If you are struggling to learn something, you could confidently reassure someone by saying "nika kumtuks alki" ( I will understand eventually), while an appropriate closing to a letter would be “alki weght” (soon again).

The Statue of Liberty, or Lady Liberty, is a replica of the  Statue of Liberty , installed at  Alki Beach Park , in  Seattle ,  Washington . It was installed in 1952 by the  Boy Scouts of America  and underwent a significant restoration in 2007 after repeated vandalism had damaged the sculpture.

The Statue of Liberty, or Lady Liberty, is a replica of the Statue of Liberty, installed at Alki Beach Park, in Seattle, Washington. It was installed in 1952 by the Boy Scouts of America and underwent a significant restoration in 2007 after repeated vandalism had damaged the sculpture.

This word is now firmly connected to Alki Point, the beach on the West Seattle peninsula where the city of Seattle began in late 1851. Historical accounts say that entrepreneur Charles Terry wanted to name the tiny settlement New York, and that someone, either a well-wisher or doubter, added Alki to the name, with the connotation of "maybe someday".

Some time during the twentieth century the pronunciation of the second syllable changed from "kee" to "kai", perhaps during the prohibition era due to its similarity in sound to the slang term for an alcoholic.

New fundraiser for Forests for Climate Resilience this Saturday in Portland, Oregon.

New fundraiser for Forests for Climate Resilience this Saturday in Portland, Oregon.

Join Forests for Climate Resilience and Forest Defenders for a gathering of #Forest Folk, Saturday in Portland, Oregon. The night will feature music, forest updates and movement news!

Calls for Justice from Catalonia - Lessons for Cascadia.

Crackling news from Catalonia emerged this week as the supreme court of Spain decided on the fate of those democratically elected leaders. Read on for how Catalonians are raising awareness for the freedom of their Political Prisoners. 

Your Chinook Wawa Word of the Day: Tillikum


[TIL'-i-kum] or [TIL'-LI-kum] —  noun.

Meaning: Person; people; relative; relation; kin; friend; ally; associate; folk; tribe; nation; population;  

Origin: Chinook  tilikhum  people

Commonly spelt “tillicum”, and sometimes pluralized in the english style as ‘tillikums”, the word means means “person” or “people,” and often has the connotation of a friend or relative, but has also come to signify a friend or ally. It usually means those who are not a “tyee” (chief), but rather common people, and can refer to any people, and can be used to signify one’s social group, band, tribe, or even nation.

It can be used to describe one’s "ahnkuttie tillikums" (ancestors), “cultus tilikum” (ordinary people; insignificant people; nobodies), or just "konaway tillikum" (everyone, everybody), be it "nesika tillikums" (our people) or "yaka tillikum" (their people).

“Klahowya tillikum” (Hello, people; greetings, my friends/family) is a standard greeting in Chinook Wawa, and serves as a good way to address "huloima tillikum" (strangers, different people from our people) which one might encounter in a large "hiyu tillikum" (a crowd; a gathering). And of course celebrating a "ahnkuttie tillikum yiem wawa" (tradition) with friends and family also makes for a good time.

Spelled either as tillicum or tillikum, it is a common place name in Cascadia; Tillicum Centre is a shopping mall along Tillicum Road in Victoria, BC, and a Tillicum Street in both Seattle and Vancouver.  Tilikum Crossing is a bridge in Portland, Oregon, while Tillicum station is a planned commuter rail station in Lakewood, WA. Tillicum Village on Blake Island, accessible from Seattle by ferry, offers a Cascadian First Nation’s equivalent of a luau, complete with a stage show, for the hungry tourist. Blake Island is believed to be the birthplace of Chief Si'ahl.


Coming Home: A New Map Telling a New Story of this Place

Coming Home: A New Map Telling a New Story of this Place

This thursday, at Seattle University, Cascadia bioregionalist David McCloskey of the Cascadia Institute and early designer of the Cascadia map discusses his new map: The Ish-River-Lillooet Country and the Salish Sea.

Your Chinook Wawa Word of the Day: Tyee


[ty-EE' ] or [tahy-EE]  — Noun, Adjective.

Origin: Nuu-chah-nulth  ta-yi  "elder", "brother", "senior"; allegedly resembles Inuktitut toyom "chief"

Meaning: A chief; leader; a superior; a boss; an officer; a master; a gentleman; a foreman; a manager; an important person; superior; best; important

Occasionally spelled tyhee in some place names, and as tayi in older publications, tyee is one of the most commonly used and wide-spread words in Chinook Wawa. Originally used to only describe a chief, it would later be applied to any anyone or anything in a leadership position, as seen in “tyee lamel” (boss mule), “klootchman tyee” (a matron), or "Tyee kopa Washington" (the president of the United States). The title of  “Sagalie Tyee” is usually translated as "Great Spirit" or "God" but literally means "chief above".

The title of “hyas tyee” (Great Chief, King) was traditionally used by Maquinna and Wickanninish, the two principal chiefs of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation at the time explorers Vancouver and Bodega y Quadra made contact.This was also the title of the famous chiefs Khatsahlahno (of the Squamish) and Cumshewa (of the Haida), etc. and also of the British king or local governor. In later years, it could also mean a high company or government official or chief military officer. Today the title of “hyas tyee” could be applied to a senator, a longtime MP or MLA, or a business magnate with a strong local powerbase, long-time connections, and wealth from and because of the area.

The title “Hyas Klootchman Tyee” (Great Woman Ruler) translates roughly to "Her Majesty", and was  used to refer to Queen Victoria in public proclamations during her reign. In theory, this title also applies to Queen Elizabeth II but it is no longer used by the BC government.


Occasionally it could be used as an adjective, as seen in  "kahkwa tyee" (kingly; like a king), or "tyee salmon" (king salmon), a term still used today in the Campbell River-Johnstone Strait region to refer to a large spring Chinook salmon of extraordinary size, usually anything weighing more than 13.5 kg (29.76 lbs).


Tyee is an extremely common name for places and businesses, with the spelling Tyhee occasionally showing up in Idaho and some parts of British Columbia. Tyee Drive is located on Point Roberts, while there is a Tyee Court in Vancouver, BC and a Tyee Road in Victoria, BC. Tyhee Elementary School is located in Bannock, ID, while Tyee Middle School and Tyee High School are located in Washington. The Tyee Restaurant and Motel, established in 1926, is located in Coupeville, WA, while Oregon has Tyee Camp, along with Tyee Wine Cellars and Tyee Lodge, just to name a few.


There is a popular BC news site named The Tyee, and beginning in 1900, Tyee was also the title of the University of Washington Yearbook.

Your Chinook Wawa Word of the Day: Cosho


[ko'-SHO] or [KU'-shu] — noun.

Meaning: Hog; pig; swine; pork; ham; bacon.

Origin: French, le cochon, ‘pig’

“Oink, oink indeed,” said the Harbor Seal.

“Oink, oink indeed,” said the Harbor Seal.

Sometimes rendered as gosho, legosho, or lecosho in older sources, “cosho” (with the accent on second syllable) was a French loanword used to mean pig or swine, but by context can be said to refer to the meat of the animal, though if one wanted to specify they could say "cosho itlwillie" (hog meat; pork). Variants included  "klootchman cosho" (sow pig), “tenas cosho” (piglet), and "cosho glease" (lard).

The word was also use in “siwash cosho” (aboriginal pig) used to refer to the meat of a seal, being somewhat similar in appearance, if not in taste, to that of swine,  and was as much a staple of coastal First Nation life as pork was to the British or the Americans. It's worth noting that this expression was purely a jargon creation, and an equally prevalent word used throughout the region was “olehiyu” (seal), which was of Chinookan origin.

First Annual Cascadia Food Festival - Saturday October 5th in Vancouver, Washington

First Annual Cascadia Food Festival - Saturday October 5th in Vancouver, Washington

Taste the Region and Explore Food Connections at the Food and Cider Festival, Slow Food Summit, and Cascadian Luau during this all day event brought to you by Slow Food Cascadia. Join us as we build a just, craft, regenerative food movement in the Cascadia region, and raise funds to support farm-to-food bank program.

Cascadia Center for Leadership opens 2020 Application Cycle

Cascadia Center for Leadership opens 2020 Application Cycle

The Cascadia Center for Leadership, which is celebrating 20 years of training and supporting local leaders, is accepting applications for its 2020 10-day Leadership Development Program. The application deadline is Oct. 18, 2019.

Your Chinook Wawa Word of the Day: Delate


[de-LATEY'] or [de-LEYT'] — adjective, adverb.

Meaning: Physically straight, direct, true, truly, exact, definite, definitely, sincere, sincerely, sure, authentic; accurate; without equivocation; without hesitation.

Origin: Either a corruption of English, straight; or Norman French drette > standard French droite ‘right’, both the directional and legal senses.

Often used to mean "very" or "truly", delate makes a statement positive and removes any element of doubt; "Delate nika wawa" (I am speaking the truth) or "delate kwinnum cole ahnkuttie" (exactly five years ago) illustrate that anything ‘delate” is the genuine article.

It can emphasize an affirmative, such as in “delate klosheh” (very good; right on), "okoke delate" (that is right; it is correct), “nawitka, delate kloshe” (yes, perfect), and "delate hyas kloshe" (majestic; magnificent; awe-inspiring), or can also emphasize a negation, such as "wake delate" (not right; imperfect).

It can be used in the directional sense, such as "klatawa delate" (to go straight ahead), or when describing size, as seen in "delate hyas" (very big indeed; enormous; immense). It can emphasize an exact time, such as "delate tenas sun" (dawn; daybreak), or state that in a legal sense that one is "delate yaka illahee" (a native of a country).

And of course all important baking instructions, ranging from “delate tenas" (just a little) to "delate pahtl" (full to the brim; chock full).

It can be used to say "delate nika sick tumtum" (I am very sorry), or tell someone that something is “delate ticky” (really necessary). If one is "delate yaka kumtuks" (an expert) and can "delate kumtuks" (know for a certainty; sure, to prove) "delate wawa" (the truth; a promise; a fact), then it is easy to "wawa delate" (speak the truth; speak correctly).

This Delate Road is located just outside of Poulsbo, Washington, across from Seattle on the Olympic Peninsula. There are many roads and streets with Chinook Wawa names in Cascadia.

This Delate Road is located just outside of Poulsbo, Washington, across from Seattle on the Olympic Peninsula. There are many roads and streets with Chinook Wawa names in Cascadia.

MLS withdraws prohibition of Anti-Fascist "Iron Front" Symbol in Victory for Cascadia Supporter Groups

MLS withdraws prohibition of Anti-Fascist "Iron Front" Symbol in Victory for Cascadia Supporter Groups

In a victory for the Cascadia Major League Soccer supporter groups, the Major League Soccer federation has rescinded a prohibition on the use of the anti-fascist Iron Front symbol as they work with fans to rewrite their code of conduct. The symbol was recently banned, with the league trying to claim that it violated it’s code of conduct because it was a ‘political statement’. Supporter groups have countered that being pro-human rights, as well as being tolerant and inclusive of all individuals, regardless of their race, religion or skin color, is hardly political.