Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland today formally established a process to review and replace derogatory names of the nation’s geographic features. She also declared “squaw” to be a derogatory term and ordered the Board on Geographic Names – the federal body tasked with naming geographic places – to implement procedures to remove the term from federal usage.
Several locations in Wyoming have the name of Squaw including Squaw Basin just south of Togwotee Pass, Squaw Hollow in Sweetwater County, and Squaw Peaks in the Bighorn mountains. Several states have already passed legislation prohibiting the use of the word “squaw” in place names, including Montana, Oregon, Maine, and Minnesota.
Derogatory names have previously been identified by the Secretary of the Interior or the Board on Geographic Names and have been comprehensively replaced. In 1962, Secretary Stewart Udall identified the N-word as derogatory, and directed that the Board on Geographic Names develop a policy to eliminate its use.