Salt Spring Island is a place in British Columbia, Canada, nestled in and amongst The Gulf Islands. The whole strata of islands may have had a name before the creation of both Canada and The United States that could have been much different from the way the islands are looked at today.
I suspect natives living in the region in times gone by, had but one name for the entire series of islands and did not differentiate between "the 49th parallel" or whatever one calls it these days, where a hypothetical division line separates "The Gulf Islands" from "The San Juan Islands," merely because that’s where the borders of both Canada and The United States end. I would like to know what that word is.
Let’s imagine I wanted to find the answer to my query and find out what Salt Spring Island and all the rest of the Gulf Islands and San Juan Islands used to be called before these 2 countries created imaginary borders that do not really exist in the typographical nature of things. For instance, if you paddle a kayak out in the water beyond Salt Spring Island itself, you might just come to one of these "borders," but you won’t see a dotted line in the middle of the ocean telling you so. Nor will something light up or blinking lights go off or a fence rise up like King Arthur’s sword out of the lake!
It’s not like a security grid around a prison so if a prisoner escapes, everybody knows it! You might just cross over from Salt Spring Island located in Canada, to The United States Of America if you just kept padding… without ever realizing that you had! The islands don’t change, nor does the water, nor the clouds in the sky or the color blue nor birds that fly overhead, simply because you cross over from one country to another. Nature’s creatures know no such boundaries and it would be difficult trying to impress that on them!
Whether Salt Spring Island lies in the region of Canada or in the USA, the ant that builds its home or the chipmunk who cares more for the tree it lives in than the country the tree is in, don’t really think it’s a big thing. It’s people who make the big fuss over countries and nationality.
Perhaps we should be more like the creatures in the forest or the fish in the sea. Wouldn’t it be nice to see things as whole again? What is that name for the Gulf and San Juan islands combined (before 2 big nations substituted something else for that)?
In my research I was unable to find any native term for the two bodies of islands. Apparently there are close to 170 of the San Juan islands and I know weather announcers covering weather patterns for Salt Spring Island will refer to "The Southern Gulf Islands" and "The Northern Gulf Islands."
I’m sure a native term for the 2 bodies of islands as one, must exist! I did find one reference to this fact, however. Although I live on Salt Spring and like Salt Spring Island very much, I’d like to see the broader picture. How about you?
Archaeologists use the term "Gulf of Georgia Culture Area" to refer to the San Juan and Gulf Islands, the whole of which shows many archaeological commonalties. Actually, there is no such thing as “The Gulf Of Georgia.” It’s really “The Salish Sea!"