SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


A Nootka Rose By Any Other Name



June 17, 2013

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska
- Recently, I wrote a column in which I referred to Ketchikan residents by a variety of different appellations.
jpg Dave Kiffer

 I called them “Ketchikandians,” “Ketchikanites,” “Ketchikanucks,” “Ketchikaneros,” “Ketchikanotans” and “Ketchikansians.”

Although some of you are probably assuming that it was just my inability to remember what I called them in previous paragraphs, there was indeed a method to my madness. I was just checking to see if anyone was paying attention. Turns out you were.

My interest is more than academic. A while back, I got a serious query from a local asking just what the “collective noun” is for residents of Ketchikan.

Most frequently heard, of course, are “Ketchikanites” and “Ketchikanians”. But, to be honest, do those really float your boat? Mine neither.

They are a mouthful, and any collective cognomen must slide easily off the tongue in polite company. Not that local company is particularly polite these days, but that remains fodder for a different discussion.

But, I digress.

So what do we call ourselves in these here parts, especially when asked to do so by Outsiders?”

I thought “Ketchikandians” was a good choice. It reminds me of our local chocolate purveyor. Yum! This would be a much sweeter place to live if we were all chocolate dipped Oreos!

“Ketchikancanucks” was another interesting choice because it references our similarities with our cross border bretheren in North Coast British Columbia.

I truly believe that someday we will sever our ties with Anchorage and Washington DC and Coastal BC will do the same with Vancouver and Ottawa.

Ketchikanuckdia would be a great name for the new territory. Much better than “Cascadia” which smacks of an environmental wilderness paradise in which the only “good local” is a “no local at all,” if you get my continental drift.

Wow, that was a really big “drift,” I mean digression.

“Ketchikaneros” gives us a sort of dashing, Spanish flavor. Just a bunch rainforest vaqueros! After all, Salmon City is mostly Revillagigedo and Gravina islands.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting the great-great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Juan Vicente de Guemes Padilla Horcasitas y Aguavo, Count of Revillagigedo, ViceRoy of Mexico. She said she wanted "her island” back, I suggested she set her sights on the Revillagigedo Islands, 200 some miles south of Cabo San Lucas. Their bio clime is sooo much more pleasant. She was not impressed with the Ketchikan’s Spanish name, Casa Del Iluvia,

To be fair, “Ketchikanotans” and “Ketchikansians” are also a bit of a mouthful. But you can’t fault a guy for trying, even if they harken to other locales in the great unwashed center of America.

“Ketchikissians.” Well, if Virginia is for lovers we can be too. Fairbanks seems to benefit from a weird proclivity for tourists stopping by to breed during the Northern Lights. Perhaps we can convince potential visitors that making babies during the Ketchikan Rain Festival (January 1 to December 31, BYO extra tufs) guarantees a prosperous future. At the very least, it might help us boost our population numbers enough to get more revenue sharing.

“Ketchitonians” has a certain majesty to it, but it leaves out the “kan” which is our favorite part of the name to “kick around.” (Still pondering"You Betcha Can in Ketchikan."

“Ketchikorkers.” You probably have to have a good understanding of net fishing tactics to understand this one, but it still should be on the list! After all, a good common appellation is indeed a marketing tool (see Ketchikissians above).

“Ketchituckians.” One of my snarky Sitka friends likes to call Our Fair Salmon City “Ketchitucky.” He thinks that we are reactionary and backward (and this from a guy who clearly can't spell Murkowski) in an Appalachian sort of way.  

“Ketchikanders.” How about “Take A Gander at Us Ketchikanders.” Now there is a slogan! Certainly better than “Your Wallet, Our Reward.”

As I mentioned earlier I was recently asked what we call ourselves. I consulted the wisest person in Ketchikan. He/She (can’t be too descriptive here because everyone reading this column thinks that I am referring to them) pondered for a minute.

There was a long silence (well, it was an email after all).

“What should we call ourselves?” I typed again.

More silence.

Finally there came a response.



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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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