Cascadia is a bioregion.
Cascadia is a noun and a place.
Cascadian, as an adjective or demonym, means someone or something associated with Cascadia (the bioregion). The name Cascadia comes from the word “cascades” meaning falling water or waterfalls. In the 1820s, David Douglas named the mountain range the Cascades. The name Cascadia in various circles came to mean the whole Pacific Northwest. This bioregion was also called Chinook Illahee in the trade language of Chinook Wawa that was spoken by indigenous and settler people alike. We honor both names as names of this beautiful place.
Cascadia as a geographical region includes most of Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and the majority of Idaho as well as northern California, parts of northwestern Wyoming, northwestern Montana, northeastern Nevada, the northwestern corner of Utah, southeastern Alaska, and the southwest corner of the Yukon Territory.
Why not the “Pacific Northwest?” Because the Pacific Northwest is a geographic description based on an Atlantic centered map. By both the place (Cascadia) and the people (Cascadians) remaining as only a geographic description of a distant corner of Atlantic empires, then we do ourselves a great disservice. As “Pacific Northwesterners” we remain a nameless object or second thought to the power centers of Washington DC and Ottawa. By remaining the “Pacific Northwest” the bioregion ends up being an object or description. We have a name, we are Cascadians and we have a home and it is called Cascadia. By giving ourselves and our home a name we empower ourselves and restore the sacredness of the land as a place of home and not a place for “resource extraction” [plunder] for empire or greed!
~ Alexander Baretich