The U.S. authorities has renamed practically 650 geographical places that bear a racist and misogynistic slur for a Native American girl.
Lots of of peaks, lakes, streams, and different geographical options on federal lands that carry the time period “squaw” are actually renamed with a descriptor or Indigenous language phrases, resembling Echo Peak, Texas, and Pannaite Naokwaide, Wyoming.
Originating from the Algonquin language, the time period could have as soon as merely meant “girl.” Over time, the phrase morphed right into a misogynist and racist time period to disparage indigenous ladies, specialists say.
The initiative was led by Inside Secretary Deb Haaland, the primary Native American cupboard secretary. In November, Haaland declared the time period derogatory and created a panel that takes options from the general public on altering locations named with derogatory phrases.
New names had been submitted for official approval from the Board on Geographic Names, a federal physique that standardizes place names within the U.S., and the Nationwide Park Service.
“I really feel a deep obligation to make use of my platform to make sure that our public lands and waters are accessible and welcoming. That begins with eradicating racist and derogatory names which have graced federal places for much too lengthy,” Haaland stated in an announcement.
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The modifications introduced Thursday capped an virtually year-long course of that started after Haaland took workplace in 2021.
In accordance with an interactive map from the U.S. Geological Survey, the vast majority of these locations are within the Western a part of the nation with California renaming 80 geographical options. At the least one place contained the time period in 36 states, in accordance with USGS official alternative names knowledge and the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Solely just lately has the time period, recognized as “sq___” by the Inside Division on Thursday, been met with contempt within the U.S. and the motion of fixing place names is an extended precedent of broadening opposition to racism.
The division ordered the renaming of locations carrying a derogatory time period for Black individuals in 1962 and people with a derogatory time period for Japanese individuals in 1974.
In some circumstances, personal sectors have taken the lead in altering the offensive time period for Native American ladies. Final yr, a California ski resort modified its title to Palisades Tahoe after beforehand being related as Squaw Valley.
A Maine ski space additionally dedicated in 2021 to vary its title, twenty years after that state eliminated the slur from names of communities and landmarks, although it has but to take action.
Contributing: The Related Press
This text initially appeared on USA TODAY: US modifications names of practically 650 locations with racist Native American time period