Haaland leads effort to remove ‘squaw’ from landmarks
We were more than pleased to see that officials with the U.S. Department of Interior have culled the word “squaw” from federal geographic landmarks, principally lakes, streams and such.
Squaw is an offensive term often associated with female native Americans.
Overall, more than 650 changes were approved in the country by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the nation’s first native American Interior Department secretary. In Michigan, 32 changes were made.
“I feel a deep obligation to use my platform to ensure that our public lands and waters are accessible and welcoming,” Haaland said in a statement. “That starts with removing racist and derogatory names that have graced federal locations for far too long.”
In the Upper Peninsula, three counties had the term removed from lakes and streams on federal land. According to MLive, Delta County had four changes while Alger and Marquette counties each had three.
Although everyone knew the word is derogatory, it took Haaland to officially declare it was last November.
Following the declaration, Haaland set up the Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force, to identify where changes needed to be made and to come up with replacement names.
The general public produced more than 1,000 recommendations.
Going forward, the task force will continue to accept recommendations for changes.
We couldn’t agree more with what has happened here. Our only complaint — if, in fact, it is a complaint — is that it should have happened a long time ago.