Federal Government to rename 660 mountains and rivers including 28 Colorado landmarks with an Indigenous slur

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The Federal Department of the Interior has suggested new names for geographic sites that have a derogatory word for Indigenous women in their names. The new proposal stands to affect 660 place names that use the term “sq___”, according to figures from the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

Secretary Deb Haaland, who is the first Native American to serve in the Cabinet in U.S. history, said:

Words matter, particularly in our work to make our 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. Throughout this process, broad engagement with Tribes, stakeholders, and the general public will help us advance our goals of equity and inclusion.

Of the 28 landmarks that are to be renamed in Colorado, four of them are shared with Oklahoma or Utah. For example, ‘Castle Creek’ is the nearest named feature to ‘Squaw Mesa.’ The first candidate replacement name for the derogatory name feature would be ‘Castle Mesa'.

The Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force is now seeking public comment on its proposed names before they are approved by the Board on Geographic Names. The deadline for written feedback is April 24.

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