November is Native American Heritage Month, dedicated to recognizing the significant contributions of First Americans. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “Native American Heritage Month.” In our small town of Orting, we resigned on the land first inhabited by the Puyallup Tribe of Indians. Over the past month, we have worked with the Puyallup Tribal Language Department (or txʷəlšucid) to learn more about the local Native history in Orting.
While there are accounts that Orting was a native word that means “town on the prairie”, there are no records that the word Orting is from a local tribe. It has been concluded that Col. S. A. Black named Orting from his original homeland. We will continue to do more research so we can teach our students and community about our history!
In the meantime, in the Mythology of Southern Puget Sound by Arthur Ballard, there is a special piece about our town and how it came to be.
“…The man died and it was so. The head of taqʷuʔbəd burst open and the water rushed down the hillsides and swept the trees from the valley. The prairie about the town of Orting was called by us, sʔiqʷ, which means "open," because the flood cleaned it and left it covered with porous stones. The white people do not now see the lake on the mountain top; it has been spilled out.”
Orting's Lushootseed place name is sʔiq’ʷ, meaning “opening.”