Department of Interior to Change Names of Over 600 Sites to Remove the Word ‘Squaw’

On Tuesday, the United States Department of Interior (DOI) announced that it would be declaring the term “squaw” to be derogatory, and would rename over 600 historical sites that feature the term.

As reported by CNN, DOI Secretary Deb Haaland first wrote an order back in November declaring that the longtime term “squaw,” which often referred to female Native Americans, was racist and sexist. To this end, Haaland announced the creation of the Names Task Force, consisting of 13 members, for the purpose of coming up with new names for the over 600 sites that included the term in their names.

“Words matter, particularly in our work to make our nation’s public lands and waters accessible and welcoming to people of all backgrounds,” said Haaland in her press release. “Throughout this process, broad engagement with Tribes, stakeholders and the general public will help us advance our goals of equity and inclusion.”

Haaland provided no evidence to suggest that the term “squaw” is considered offensive, as the name has been used frequently throughout American history. Examples of such historical sites with the word in their names include White Squaw Island in Maine and Squaw Hollow in Oregon. But the DOI has already taken additional steps to completely erase the word from existence; in official internal communications, the word “squaw” now appears as “sq_ _ _.”

The DOI on Tuesday posted a list of potential replacement names, and is asking for public comment to contribute further possible names. The comment period will be open through the end of April.


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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

Photo: GRANADA, CO - FEBRUARY 19 : Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland visits the cemetery of the Camp Amache site on to mark the day of remembrance for Japanese internment after senate passage of the Amache National Historic Site Act in Granada, Colorado on Saturday, February 19, 2022. Between 1942 and 1945, the federal government removed 120,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese nationals from their homes on the West Coast and imprisoned 10,000 of them at the Granada Relocation Center in Colorado, which the inmates called Amache. It was one of 10 sites across the country.(Photo by Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)