It is Time to Move Past Derogatory Place Names


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Text: No Place for SlursThis morning, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland took long overdue action to remove racist and derogatory place names from our public lands. With the signing of two secretarial orders, Haaland (1) created the Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force, which will engage in tribal consultation and consider public feedback on proposed name changes; and (2) declared “squaw” to be a derogatory term that will no longer be used in naming federal lands. Currently, there are more than 600 federal land units that include this slur in the name. Secretary Haaland instructed the Board on Geographic Names to remove the term from federal use. Learn more about Secretarial Orders 3404 and 3405 at https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/secretary-haaland-takes-action-remove-derogatory-names-federal-lands

The Native American Rights Fund has long supported legislative and other actions to remove derogatory place names. NARF Executive Director John Echohawk responded to the action, “Names that still use derogatory terms are an embarrassing legacy of this country’s colonialist and racist past. It is well-past time for us, as a nation, to move forward, beyond these derogatory terms, and show Native people—and all people—equal respect. We applaud Secretary Halaand for taking action to make our federal government and public lands more inclusive and respectful of Native peoples.”

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