The Biden administration’s Department of the Interior on Thursday announced the replacement names for nearly 650 geographical features that had names deemed “racist and derogatory.” 

The Board on Geographic Names voted on the final names to replace the names of landmarks on federal lands that feature the term “squaw,” the department said in a news release.

The removal of the term, which the department says has “historically been used as an offensive ethnic, racial and sexist slur, particularly for Indigenous women,” is part of an ongoing effort to review and replace derogatory names from federal usage.

“I feel a deep obligation to use my platform to ensure that our public lands and waters are accessible and welcoming,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “That starts with removing racist and derogatory names that have graced federal locations for far too long.”

Haaland thanked the organizations involved in the renaming process and said the effort is “charting a path for an inclusive America.”

Squaw Peak in Utah's Wasatch Mountains range.
The Department of the Interior released names for 650 geographical features previously deemed offensive.
Getty Images/iStockphoto
Deb Haaland
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said she wanted to ensure the country’s public lands are “accessible and welcoming.”

The list of new names can be found on the US Geological Survey website, along with a map of locations.

Some renamed federal lands included: Squaw Gulch, a valley in Placer County, California, to Mani’pa Gulch; Squaw Lake in Hinsdale County, Colorado, to Grizzly Lake; and Squaw Mountain, a summit in Utah County, Utah, to Kyhv Peak. 

The department’s Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force, which was created last year as part of the renaming effort, received more than 1,000 recommendations for name changes, with nearly 70 Tribal governments participating in nation-to-nation consultation, which yielded several hundred more recommendations.

The department said that while the new names are immediately effective for federal use, the public may continue to propose name changes for any features, including the ones in Thursday’s announcement.


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