Biden Dept. of Interior renames 650 geographic features

The Biden administration’s Interior Department on Thursday announced the replacement names for nearly 650 geographic features whose names have been deemed “racist and derogatory.”

The Board on Geographic Names voted on the final names to replace landmark names on states that contain the term “squaw,” the department said in a release.

The deletion of the term, which the department says has “historically been used as an ethnic, racial and sexist offensive slur, particularly to Indigenous women,” is part of an ongoing effort to review and replace derogatory names from federal usage .

“I am deeply committed to using my platform to ensure our public lands and waters are accessible and welcoming,” said Home Secretary Deb Haaland. “It starts with removing racist and derogatory names that have graced federal agencies for far too long.”

Haaland thanked the organizations involved in the renaming process and said the effort is “a pathway for an inclusive America.”

Deb Haaland
Home Secretary Deb Haaland said she wanted to ensure the country’s public land was “accessible and welcoming”.

The list of new names can be found on the US Geological Survey website along with a map of the locations.

Some renamed states were: Squaw Gulch, a valley in Placer County, California, in Mani’pa Gulch; Squaw Lake in Hinsdale County, Colorado to Grizzly Lake; and Squaw Mountain, a peak in Utah County, Utah to Kyhv Peak.

The department’s Derogatory Geographical Names Task Force, established last year as part of the renaming effort, received more than 1,000 name change recommendations, with nearly 70 tribal governments participating in national consultations that yielded several hundred more recommendations.

The department said that while the new names are effective immediately for federal use, the public can still propose name changes for any role, including those in Thursday’s announcement. Biden Dept. of Interior renames 650 geographic features


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