Biden admin renames five places in US found to have used derogatory names for Native American women
The Biden administration has announced the renaming of five sites in the U.S. found to be using names derogatory toward Native American women.
The administration's Interior Department made the announcement Thursday in a press release that appears to say the offensive word was "squaw." However it uses the work "s_ _ _ ."
The agency's Board on Geographic Names has voted on or is still considering changes to about 650 locations.
“Words matter, particularly in our work to ensure our nation’s public lands and waters are accessible and welcoming to people of all backgrounds,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who in 2021 became the first Native American to lead the agency.
"I am grateful to the members of the Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force and the Board on Geographic Names for their efforts to finalize the removal of this harmful word. Together, we are showing why representation matters and charting a path for an inclusive America."
The renamed locations are in California, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.
Tribal chairman of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, Mark Fox agreed with the change, telling the Associated Press it was long overdue and that his members are "pleased that the racially insensitive and offensive name has been removed.”
Some opposed the change such as Joel Brown, a member of the McKenzie County Board of Commissioners in North Dakota.
Brown says many residents in the county are opposed to the change and argued that it was too overreach by government officials.
"Generally we find they’re disconnected from what the culture and economy are out here," he said.