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Proposal to nix derogatory term targets hundreds of US sites, including in Arizona


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”, a derogatory term used historically by white people, including colonists to describe Indigenous women.

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland in November, 2021, formally declared the term unacceptable and called it a “racial and sexist slur.”

She initiated a process to remove it from use by the federal government and to replace other existing site names that use the offensive term.

The list was announced Tuesday and includes sites in Arizona, New Mexico, California and many other states.

The agency will host virtual meetings to consult with tribes in March.

A task force will prioritize the replacement names and make recommendations to the Board on Geographic Names before it meets later this year.