Derogatory term officially scrubbed from federal use; 80 California sites get new names

FILE – Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland speaks at a news conference in Yellowstone National Park on Friday, July 8, 2022. (Rachel Leathe/Bozeman Daily Chronicle via AP, File)


A racial slur used to identify hundreds of landmarks and geographic sites across the country is getting replaced.

In California, the term “squaw” will be scrubbed from 80 geographic features across the state, bringing an end to hundreds of years of the offensive term being used in an official capacity.

The term has been used throughout history as an offensive ethnic and sexist term, particularly against Indigenous and Native women.

The effort to wipe the term from the American lexicon has been an ongoing battle for generations, but has gained steam after Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland established a task force to review and replace the term and ordered the federal body responsible for naming geographic places to no longer use it.

Haaland, who is the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary in the nation, thanked the task force and the Board on Geographic Names for their cooperation and prioritization of the project.

“I feel a deep obligation to use my platform to ensure that our public lands and waters are accessible and welcoming. That starts with removing racist and derogatory names that have graced federal locations for far too long,” said Haaland in a news release.

%d bloggers like this: