ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal officials have come up with a list of potential replacement names for hundreds of geographic features in three dozen states that include the word “squaw,” kicking off a public comment period that will run through late April.
U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland in November formally declared the term derogatory and initiated a process to remove the word from use by the federal government and to replace other existing derogatory place names.
Haaland said in a statement Tuesday that words matter, particularly as the agency works to make the nation’s public lands and waters accessible and welcoming to people of all backgrounds.
“Consideration of these replacements is a big step forward in our efforts to remove derogatory terms whose expiration dates are long overdue,” she said. “Throughout this process, broad engagement with tribes, stakeholders and the general public will help us advance our goals of equity and inclusion.”
The agency is planning three virtual meetings to consult with tribes in March, and written comments will be accepted through April 24.