The U.S. Department of the Interior said Thursday it has now removed the word “squaw” from the names of more than 600 federally designated lands.
The process began in November of 2021 after the agency declared it to be offensive to some Native Americans. They say that “squaw” has “historically been used as an offensive ethnic, racial and sexist slur, particularly for Indigenous women.”
“I feel a deep obligation to use my platform to ensure that our public lands and waters are accessible and welcoming,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who is a member of New Mexico’s Laguna Pueblo tribe and the first Native American to head up a cabinet agency in the federal government. She believes the initiative is “charting a path for an inclusive America.”
“That starts with removing racist and derogatory names that have graced federal locations for far too long,” she added.
The Interior Dept. said it consulted with more than 70 different tribal governments and received more than 1,000 recommendations for sites to be renamed. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) provides a complete list on its website.
The reasoning behind the changes appears to stem from the white man’s usage of it in depicting Native American women as objects of desire following the American Frontier Wars and western settlement. Like most things the far-left eventually get their grubby little hands on, the word hasn’t been a problem for hundreds of years.
For official communications, the federal government has gone so far as to write the word sq__ instead of spelling it out or surrounding it with quotes. The word appears in Algonquian languages of northeastern North America and literally means, “woman,” but much like the Land O’ Lakes girl and Aunt Jemima, this too must be erased from American history.
Some of the renamed federal lands decided upon by the USGS’s Board on Geographic Names include: Squaw Gulch, a valley in Placer County, California, to Mani’pa Gulch; Squaw Lake in Hinsdale County, Colorado, to Grizzly Lake; and Squaw Mountain, a summit in Utah County, Utah, to Kyhv Peak, Fox News reported.
Squaw Valley in California, which hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics, has been formally renamed Olympic Valley.
“Words matter, particularly in our work to make our nation’s public lands and waters accessible and welcoming to people of all backgrounds,” Haaland said in a press release. “Throughout this process, broad engagement with Tribes, stakeholders and the general public will help us advance our goals of equity and inclusion.”
Yes, words do indeed matter.
Marge Bruchac, an anthropologist at the University of Pennsylvania of Abenaki Indian descent, demurred against excising the word from the names of so many places.
“I understand the concern of Indian women who feel insulted by this word, but I respectfully suggest that we reclaim our language rather than let it be taken over,” she advised.
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