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Interior secretary seeks to rid U.S. of derogatory place names

36 Comments
By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN

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This non-violent method is the right way to make corrections to society that are long overdue.

-4 ( +11 / -15 )

I had no idea there was anything wrong with squaw. I thought it was a native American Indian name for woman.

14 ( +20 / -6 )

Good, long over due.

3 ( +14 / -11 )

I had no idea there was anything wrong with squaw. I thought it was a native American Indian name for woman.

It is the equivalent of using the B word or the H word (well, wh if you spell it correctly) to describe a woman.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

I had no idea there was anything wrong with squaw. I thought it was a native American Indian name for woman.

Same.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

I had no idea there was anything wrong with squaw. I thought it was a native American Indian name for woman.

It came from the Massachusetts word squa, meaning a young woman, but quickly became used as a derogatory term by white people. Like how we wouldn’t call an Asian person a ‘cookie’, even though it comes from the real Urdu and Tamil word kūli, meaning a hireling.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Sorry, I meant “coolie” not “cookie”, thanks autocorrect

12 ( +14 / -2 )

All of these places named after American Indians should be done away with so as to be respectful of these proud people. The names can be changed to the names of famous first Americans like those proud people that signed the Declaration of Independence or the US Constitution. Squaw Valley could have been renamed Franklin Valley after Benjamin Franklin so as to more respectfully honor the people that were native to the land prior to and during the transition to the new nation that would become known as the United States of America.

It’s sad that American Indians do not want to see their old language used anymore in place names. Hopefully they can unite with the rest of America under new names after great Americans from the shared history of all.

-14 ( +4 / -18 )

While at it why don't they rename loveladies, new Jersey, Roachtown, Illinois, Squabletown, California and Monkey's Eyebrow, Kentucky? Not sure if those are derogatory or just unfortunate place names lol.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

WolfpackToday  07:57 am JST

All of these places named after American Indians should be done away with so as to be respectful of these proud people. The names can be changed to the names of famous first Americans like those proud people that signed the Declaration of Independence or the US Constitution. Squaw Valley could have been renamed Franklin Valley after Benjamin Franklin so as to more respectfully honor the people that were native to the land prior to and during the transition to the new nation that would become known as the United States of America.

Yes, like John Hancock, a great American. OK, well, actually a smuggler, but let's not talk about that.

Most people have no true understanding of the "founders." They were, almost to man, atheists (which is not a bad thing). All of the Under God nonsense was hammered in the 1950's by Jehovahs Witness radicals.

Those "proud people" founders believed only-land owning white men should have the right to vote.

If you use the logic above, it should be called "Thievery Valley" or "Liars Valley" after the people who stole land, slaughtered native people and broke every. single. treaty. ever signed. Every, single treaty.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

If you can eradicate or at least contextualize an old insult, why not?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

While at it why don't they rename loveladies, new Jersey, Roachtown, Illinois, Squabletown, California and Monkey's Eyebrow, Kentucky? Not sure if those are derogatory or just unfortunate place names lol.

Don't forget Baghdad Florida, Damascus Alabama, Nowhere Oklahoma and good ol' Zzyzx California. Look up how Atascadero translates into English, literally Sh_thole California. Or Manteca, the Spanish word for lard. Cerritos is "Little Hills" and fancy ol' Rancho Palos Verdes translates into "Green Sticks Ranch".

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Didn’t know it was a bad word as it really hasn’t been presented as one for a longtime. Cool with the name change, but don’t attack the locals if they refer to a location using the old name. It’s the fastest way to politicize something that doesn’t need to be.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Reclaiming the Word Squaw - DocsBay

https://data.docsbay.net/pdf/f968f7df1a54cc36a80db33c7fb6704b.pdf?sign=1  

Worth a read….. 

Hopefully it will open...If not

https://docsbay.net/reclaiming-the-word-squaw

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Peter Neil:

Yes, like John Hancock, a great American. OK, well, actually a smuggler, but let's not talk about that.

Haven’t heard that one but no one is perfect. He certainly has redeemed any shortcomings he may have had with his contributions to the eradication of the British monarchy’s colonial rule.

Most people have no true understanding of the "founders." They were, almost to man, atheists (which is not a bad thing). 

That is a common talking point for those who are in opposition to the overthrow of British control of the North American colonies. Most if not all of the Founders were practicing Christians but several were Diest. Diest’s believed in a God as the creator - that once the job of creation was done, the world ran of its own accord by the the laws of nature God created.

Those "proud people" founders believed only-land owning white men should have the right to vote.

And everywhere else in the world, there was no form of democracy at all. At worst the Americans first attempts at democracy were a step in the right direction. Meanwhile in Africa no one enjoyed any form of democracy and the black kings on the West coast went inland to capture and enslave people of other tribes and sell them to European merchants for profit. Slavery still exists in Africa to this day.

If you use the logic above, it should be called "Thievery Valley" or "Liars Valley" after the people who stole land

By your logic, every place on every continent should be named in similar fashion because no people have clean hands. American Indians fought each other, tribe against tribe, taking territory. There are also many historically documented instances in which American Indians themselves purchased black slaves. Open your mind to reality. History isn’t as neat and tidy as many choose to believe.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

They should also ban the use of "freakin", inappropriate use of "already" to end a sentence and the all use of "fanny pack"

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Everything is going to have to be named after the 3 people remaining who the woke left find acceptable.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Having a great grandmother who was 1/2 American Indian none of these terms bother me but I support reasonable removal of clearly offensive terms. Personally I would like to see the racial epithet “cracker” expunged.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

We're all gonna need a language police force to stop us from sayin' what we may be thinkin'.

I mean, I really don't like it that some people in Japan call my children half-u, but I don't think there needs to be a police force to stop it either. There are other more effective ways.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I guess Red Butt Montana will be thrown away.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ludicrous. Many of the place names (States, cities, towns, rivers, lakes, etc.) are names that were used by the indigenous peoples of those areas originally. PC nonsense running amok.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

If you make a sensible, rational and reasonable debate a subject like this, the people will listen. Once you scream and interject hysteria and call people that disagree with you racists or white supremacists are undercutting their own arguments.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

WolfpackToday  07:57 am JST

All of these places named after American Indians should be done away with so as to be respectful of these proud people. The names can be changed to the names of famous first Americans like those proud people that signed the Declaration of Independence or the US Constitution.

Excellent idea.

Unfortunately some people would be triggered by this because they will claim the Founding Fathers were white supremacists--because they were white, or some similar bizarre conspiracy theory.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Unfortunately some people would be triggered by this because they will claim the Founding Fathers were white supremacists--because they were white, or some similar bizarre conspiracy theory.

You’d find American History rather enlightening. Give it a read.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Haven’t heard that one but no one is perfect. He certainly has redeemed any shortcomings he may have had with his contributions to the eradication of the British monarchy’s colonial rule

HOOOOOOOB BOY, if you didn't know Alexander Hamilton was a smuggler (and serial adulterer), do I have some MIND-BLOWING new about author of the Declaration of Independence and actual rapist Thomas Jefferson...

But back on topic, the term "squaw", while it has its roots in (one particular) Native American language, it quickly took on a derogatory nature over the course of the wars and massacres wages against them during the US's westward expansion. The N-word has its roots in the Spanish word for "black", but I think it's safe to say its taken on a meaning far beyond a simple, objective descriptor. If they want to change the names, then I'll support their right to do so. The only people qualified to say what is and isn't derogatory to Native Americans are Native Americans.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Ludicrous. Many of the place names (States, cities, towns, rivers, lakes, etc.) are names that were used by the indigenous peoples of those areas originally.

Nobody's saying they should change the names of places that were named after Native toponyms. But here's something interesting you might wanna consider. The Squaw Valley, California mentioned in the article wasn't named that by the Natives. Want to know how I know? They didn't speak Eastern Algonquin in Cali.

Taken straight from the "squaw" article on Wikipedia. You can check the citations yourself: "The word is not used among Native American, First Nations, Inuit, or Métis peoples.[1][2][3][4] While a similar morpheme (smallest linguistic unit of meaning) is found within some longer words in some of the Eastern Algonquian languages,[7] these languages only make up a small minority of the languages spoken in the hundreds of Indigenous communities affected by this slur.[8] Even in Algonquian, the related word-fragments used are not the English-language slur, but small components of longer, Algonquian words that contain more than one morpheme.[7] The term squaw is considered universally offensive by Indigenous groups in America and the First Nations due to its use for hundreds of years in a derogatory context,[2] and due to usage that demeans Native American women, ranging from condescending images (e.g., picture postcards depicting "Indian squaw and papoose") to racialized epithets.[9][10]"

So "squaw" isn't even a word in ANY native language. It's a PART of a few Eastern Algonquin words and, need I remind people, not all Native Americans speak Algonquin languages. So seeing the word "Squaw" outside Algonquin areas is pretty good proof it wasn't the Natives who called it that. The word "squaw" was a word fragment taken and used exclusively by white Americans, not natives, and used in a derogatory way.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The problem will come when, once everyone makes a list of the words they want banned, there won't be many words left to use. As usual when attempts to limit language come up, the real issue is WHO decides what is 'derogatory'.

As an aside, I am glad that the federal government is so efficiently run that there are no problems greater than this to tackle. Reminds me of what happened in San Francisco, when the local school board took advantage of the pandemic to attempt renaming of 1/3 of schools. Including those named after such obvious racists as: Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, Robert Louis Stevenson, Paul Revere, and Dianne Feinstein.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

You’d find American History rather enlightening. Give it a read.

All of history is enlightening, take your pick.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

P. SmithToday  12:05 pm JST

Why anyone has an issue with derogatory names being changed is beyond me. These same people think statues of racist traitors to our country are perfectly fine.

The issue is that what is derogatory to one person is part of the normal vocabulary for another. And in the US at least, people feel they have the right to say what they want, without government censorship.

Totally fine with getting rid of squaw though---the American Native Indians only complain when there is a rational reason behind it.

Of course, once that word is cancelled, the only ones who will continue to use will be the Indians.

Bob FosseToday  11:10 am JST

You’d find American History rather enlightening. Give it a read.

I think the American history I read is different from what you read. Talk about enlightening.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

P.Smith, but the devil is in the details. WHO gets to decide what is 'derogatory'? WHO gets to decide who was a 'racist traitor"? This is the problem of trying to erase or, dare I say whitewash embarrassing historical facts. Suddenly, someone will come after a name/person that YOU admire or find perfectly acceptable. What will you do then?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

the real issue is WHO decides what is 'derogatory'.

Well, the people who get to decide what is derogatory to Native Americans are Native Americans. If you're not Native American, your opinion on what is insulting to them is irrelevant. And considering Native Americans (including Haaland) consider 'squaw' to be derogatory, us white folk don't get a say on the matter. Period.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I think the American history I read is different from what you read. Talk about enlightening.

I think anyone who believes America wasn’t founded on the subjugation and genocide of non white races really can’t describe themselves as enlightened.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Of course, once that word is cancelled, the only ones who will continue to use will be the Indians.

Yeah, you’ve missed the point entirely. That word is not used by Native America Indians. It’s a racial slur. That’s the whole point of this action.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I grew up with all that Indian stuff, children cosplay, western and cowboy movies and all such. Totem pole, tipi, squaw, peace pipe, hough…I only know such vocabulary and surely won’t change it now decades after for whoever demands that. lol

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

That was fast downthumbing, wow. Ok, then tell me at least the correct word for squaw, if you insist and know it! Unbelievable…

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

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