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Derogatory term officially scrubbed from federal use; 80 California sites get new names

A racial slur used to identify hundreds of landmarks and geographic sites across the country is getting replaced.

In California, the term “squaw” will be scrubbed from 80 geographic features across the state, bringing an end to hundreds of years of the offensive term being used in an official capacity.

The term has been used throughout history as an offensive ethnic and sexist term, particularly against Indigenous and Native women.

The effort to wipe the term from the American lexicon has been an ongoing battle for generations, but has gained steam after Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland established a task force to review and replace the term and ordered the federal body responsible for naming geographic places to no longer use it.

Haaland, who is the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary in the nation, thanked the task force and the Board on Geographic Names for their cooperation and prioritization of the project.

“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 Haaland in a news release.

Since the formation of the task force, more than a thousand different names had been recommended during public comment with input coming from historians and tribal leaders across the country.

The task force, which includes members of the National Parks Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Land Management and the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Civil Rights, were faced with a number of challenges.

They were tasked with evaluating the suggestions from both the public and Tribal leaders for geographic features that often landed in various different state, federal and tribal jurisdictions. They also had to evaluate inconsistent spelling of Native languages and evaluate the diverse array of opinions of those making recommendations.

Ultimately, nearly 650 geographic sites, including the 80 in California, were renamed.

The California landmarks that will be renamed are below:

New Name Previous Name Feature Class County or Equivalent State
Habematolel Valley Big Squaw Valley Valley Lake County California
East Fork Sulanharas Creek East Fork Squaw Creek Stream Shasta County California
North Fork Waydalmem Creek North Fork Squaw Creek Stream Shasta County California
South Fork Waydalmem Creek South Fork Squaw Creek Stream Shasta County California
Ehluyeh Canyon Squaw Canyon Valley Plumas County California
Spruce Grove Creek Squaw Creek Stream Humboldt County California
K’ ohuy Cah Squaw Creek Stream Mendocino County California
Log Valley Little Squaw Valley Basin Lake County California
Bald Creek Squaw Creek Stream Shasta County California
Washeshu Creek Squaw Creek Stream Placer County California
Waydalmem Creek Squaw Creek Stream Shasta County California
Telegraph Creek Squaw Creek Stream Humboldt County California
Lolsel Creek Squaw Creek Stream Colusa County California
Grasshopper Creek Squaw Creek Stream Humboldt County California
Tip Top Ridge Creek Squaw Creek Stream Humboldt County California
Mayacmas Creek Squaw Creek Stream Sonoma County California
Papakum Pakan Flat Squaw Flat Flat Placer County California
Yét Atwam Flat Squaw Flat Flat Shasta County California
Grasshopper Creek Ridge Squaw Creek Ridge Ridge Humboldt County California
Sawabü Flat Squaw Flat Flat Inyo County California
Gates Opening Squaw Opening Flat Mendocino County California
Logan Flat Squaw Flat Flat Glenn County California
Table Hollow Squaw Hollow Valley Tehama County California
Milk Peak Squaw Peak Summit Modoc County California
Mudoim Peak Squaw Peak Summit Plumas County California
Pieta Rock Slide Squaw Rock Slide Slope Mendocino County California
Yét Atwam Creek Squaw Valley Creek Stream Shasta County, Siskiyou County California
Olympic Valley Squaw Valley Valley Placer County California
Oso Kum Spring Squaw Valley Spring Spring Plumas County California
Habematolel Creek Squaw Valley Creek Stream Lake County California
Delunga Peak Squaw Valley Peak Summit Plumas County California
Om Chatim Springs Squaw Valley Peak Springs Spring Plumas County California
West Fork Sulanharas Creek West Fork Squaw Creek Stream Shasta County California
Mat Kwa’rar Nemaaw Squaw Canyon Valley San Diego County California
Bull Spring Mountain Squaw Mountain Summit San Bernardino County California
Tenaja Mountain Squaw Mountain Summit Riverside County California
Xanyō Xamshré Squaw Lake Lake Imperial County California
Mat Puy Nah Achhuukaayp Squaw Peak Summit San Diego County California
Ho’toy Peak Squaw Peak Summit Monterey County California
Needle Spring Squaw Spring Spring Inyo County California
Mohave Peak Squaw Tit Summit San Bernardino County California
Arch Peak Squaw Peak Summit San Bernardino County California
S’ o”” Kuku Creek Squaw Creek Stream Ventura County California
Yokuts Basin Squaw Valley Basin Fresno County California
East Fork North Fork Sulanharas Creek East Fork North Fork Squaw Creek Stream Shasta County California
Paac Kü̱vü̱hü̱’k Squaw Tank Reservoir Riverside County California
Tubbe Paa Lake Old Squaw Lake Lake Fresno County California
Sulanharas Creek Squaw Creek Stream Shasta County California
North Fork Sulanharas Creek North Fork Squaw Creek Stream Shasta County California
Uti Flat Squaw Flat Flat Placer County California
Sulanharas Creek Arm Squaw Creek Arm Bay Shasta County California
Whichwo Creek Squaw Creek Stream Trinity County California
Mani’pa Gulch Squaw Gulch Valley Placer County California
Oak Hollow Squaw Hollow Valley Calaveras County, Tuolumne County California
Kapa Hollow Squaw Hollow Valley El Dorado County California
Deer Lick Flat Squaw Flat Flat Trinity County California
Stoveleg Gulch Squaw Gulch Valley Trinity County California
Hunchup Creek Squaw Hollow Creek Stream El Dorado County California
Nüümü Hu Hupi Squaw Lake Lake Fresno County California
Deer Hollow Creek Squaw Hollow Creek Stream Tehama County California
San Joaquin Butte Squaw Leap Cliff Fresno County California
Mo Bisipi Creek Squaw Queen Creek Stream Plumas County California
Washeshu Peak Squaw Peak Summit Placer County California
Damalusung Lake Squaw Lake Lake Sierra County California
Tamarack Peak Squaw Peak Summit Siskiyou County California
Corral Valley Squaw Valley Valley Lassen County California
Kahus Flat Squaw Flat Flat Ventura County California
Saputiwah Spring Squaw Spring Spring Ventura County California
Scratch Creek Squaw Creek Stream Tulare County California
Hukaht Canyon Squaw Canyon Valley Los Angeles County California
Inman Rock Squaw Rock Summit Mendocino County California
Beyem Seyo Valley Squaw Valley Valley Plumas County California
Leaning Pine Hill Squaw Hill Summit Mariposa County California
Mat Kwa’Kurr Squaw Tit Summit San Diego County California
Frog Woman Rock Squaw Rock Summit Mendocino County California
Panther Prairie Squaw Prairie Area Humboldt County California
Pkwo’-o-lo’ ‘ue-merkw Squaw Tit Summit Humboldt County California
Múmawet Squaw Hill Summit Riverside County California
Hayfork Spring Squaw Camp Spring Spring Trinity County California
Ehluyeh Canyon Springs Squaw Canyon Springs Spring Plumas County California

For a complete list of geographic sites across the country that will be renamed, click here. A map of the sites can be found here.

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