At 643 Federal Sites, a Slur Is Gone

Interior Department removes 'squaw' in deference to Native Americans
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2022 6:05 AM CDT
US Removes Derogatory Name From Federal Sites
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland is the first Native American to serve as a Cabinet secretary.   (Rachel Leathe/Bozeman Daily Chronicle via AP, File)

The place long known as Squaw Canyon in Arizona is now Red Rock Canyon. In California, Squaw Valley Spring is now Oso Kum Spring. And on and on across the US—the Interior Department this week released a list of 643 federal lands that have been renamed to remove the word "squaw" in deference to Native Americans, reports the Hill. You can see an interactive map here. The name changes come after Deb Haaland, who runs the Interior Department and is the first Native American to serve as a Cabinet secretary, declared the word derogatory last year.

“I feel a deep obligation to use my platform to ensure that our public lands and waters are accessible and welcoming,” said Haaland. “That starts with removing racist and derogatory names that have graced federal locations for far too long.” Outside notes that English and French settlers started using the term derisively in the early 1600s to describe Indigenous women, and white colonists followed suit. (An iconic spot in Great Smoky Mountains National Park also is getting a new name.)

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