Interior to remove anti-Indigenous slurs from names of federal lands
The Interior Department will review, remove and replace derogatory names, including "squaw," from U.S. geographic landmarks, Secretary Deb Haaland announced Friday.
The big picture: Haaland's order formally declares the term as derogatory and creates a task force to rename the federal lands that bear it. A separate committee will review proposed name changes related to other derogatory terms.
Details: The Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force will be required to engage in tribal consultation and consider public feedback on proposed name changes.
- The term is a slur historically used to denigrate Native Americans, especially Indigenous women. Over 650 federal land units currently contain the word, according to a database maintained by the Board on Geographic Names.
What she's saying: "Racist terms have no place in our vernacular or on our federal lands. Our nation’s lands and waters should be places to celebrate the outdoors and our shared cultural heritage — not to perpetuate the legacies of oppression," Haaland said in a statement.
- "Today’s actions will accelerate an important process to reconcile derogatory place names and mark a significant step in honoring the ancestors who have stewarded our lands since time immemorial."
Of note: The order also creates the Advisory Committee on Reconciliation in Place Names, which will work separately to review proposed name changes related to other derogatory terms.
- It will include representatives from Indigenous tribes as well as tribal and Native Hawaiian organizations.
Don't forget: The federal government previously eliminated use of derogatory terms in the past, such as the n-word and anti-Japanese slurs.
- Several states have already passed legislation to prohibit the use of "squaw" in place names.