Feds issue new names for 50 Utah locations that previously contained ‘offensive slur’

Squaw Peak in Provo is pictured October 5, 2017. The peak received a new name on Thursday following a decision by the federal government. It is now known as Kahw Peak. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

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Salt Lake City — Hundreds of geographic locations across the country now have new names, following a decision by the Interior Department to remove the word “squaw,” which the government agency regards as an “offensive racial, racial, and sexist slur, in particular.” Is. Indigenous women.”

The US Board on Geographic Names approved name changes in approximately 650 geographic locations, including 50 in Utah. Most notably, Squaw Mountain/Peak in Utah County would be renamed Cahw Peak, according to the US Geological Survey, while a valley to the north by Lyndon would be renamed Brook Hollow.

A full list of new names for some of the locations can be found here.

The decision comes a year after US Secretary of State Deb Haaland issued Secretary of State Orders 3404 and 3405, specifying a review of the use of what are referred to as “class-words” and recommending a committee to “roughly Designated to solicit, review and recommend changes to the offending geographic and federal land entity names.”

The department received over 1,000 name change recommendations during the public comment period after the announcements were released. Dozens of tribal governments participated until Thursday’s announcement, according to the Interior Department.

In a statement, Hollande said, “I feel a profound obligation to use our platform to ensure that our public lands and waters are accessible and welcoming. This begins with the removal of racist and derogatory names.” who have occupied federal places for too long.” “I am grateful to members of the Offensive Geographic Names Task Force and the Board on Geographic Names for their efforts to prioritize this important task. Together, we are showing why representation matters and paving a path for an inclusive America. doing.”

The decision also comes a year after the Utah Legislature passed SB10 in its 2021 legislative session. The bill, sparked by “class-words”, authorized the Utah Division of Indian Affairs “to help facilitate the application process for change of place names referring to American Indian words.” Legislators noted at the time that final approval would have to come from the Department of the Interior.

Ed Naranjo, a member of the Confederate Tribes of Goshoots, requested changes in a letter to Sen. Jani Iwamoto, D-Salt Lake City, ahead of the 2021 season, which he told KSL-TV in 2020 was inspired by his daughters. ,

“There’s something going on that isn’t right and we need to change that,” he said at the time. “It has to stop. It’s a new world, a new society and everyone is trying to get along with each other.”

A group called the Reapk Committee pushed for a Squaw Peak name change in 2017, when the US Board on Geographic Names voted to rename Moab’s Negro Bill Canyon to Grandstaff Canyon.

Meanwhile, more name changes may be on the horizon, department officials said on Thursday. It last month named members of a new federal advisory committee to “help identify and recommend changes to the offending terms”. More details about their process of renaming and potentially renaming are expected “in the coming weeks.”

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter covering general news, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com. He previously worked for Deseret News. He is a Utah transplant via Rochester, New York.

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