Interior Department removes offensive slur from federal use in Michigan
Decisions of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names are effective immediately
MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Department of the Interior announced Friday that the Board on Geographic Names has voted on the final replacement names for nearly 650 geographic features featuring the offensive term “squaw.”
The final vote completes the last step in the historic efforts to remove a term from federal use that has historically been used as an offensive ethnic, racial and sexist slur, particularly for Indigenous women.
“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 Secretary Deb Haaland. “I am grateful to the members of the Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force and the Board on Geographic Names for their efforts to prioritize this important work. Together, we are showing why representation matters and charting a path for an inclusive America.”
The list of new names can be found on the U.S. Geological Survey website with a map of locations.
The final vote reflects a months-long effort by the Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force established by Secretary’s Order 3404, which included representatives from the Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, National Park Service, Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Civil Rights, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement and the U.S. Geological Survey and the Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service
During the public comment period, the Task Force received more than 1,000 recommendations for name changes. Nearly 70 Tribal governments participated in nation-to-nation consultation, which yielded another several hundred recommendations.
The Federal Advisory Committee for the Department has been created to formally receive advice from the public regarding additional derogatory terms, derogatory terms on federal land units and the process for derogatory name reconciliation.
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