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SnakebyteXX
04-01-2005, 06:00 AM
By Rukmini Callimachi, Associated Press Writer | April 1, 2005

SISTERS, Ore. -- Olivia Wallulatum finds it hard to even look at the sign, a marker for the Squaw River. It reminds her of all the names she was called as a girl. And she wants something done about it. She wants the name changed.

"I don't care what they change it to. I just want to see it go," said Wallulatum, 50, a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs.

Nearly a thousand places across the country -- rivers, buttes, meadows, mountains -- are named "squaw," and most American Indians want them to be called something else. Changing the names, though, isn't happening with any great speed and certainly not without a struggle.

American Indians' heightened sensitivity to the word came about in 1992 after an activist announced on a television talk show that squaw is derived from a vulgar Mohawk word. Linguists maintain "squaw" means "woman" in the language of the Massachusett tribe, which once lived on the East Coast.

Three years later, activists and the government joined forces to change the names, but their efforts have been far from stellar. The U.S. Geographic Names Board shows that a decade of work has brought about different names for only 74 of the 967 places, less than 8 percent. In Oregon, which has more places named "squaw" than anywhere else in the nation, only six of the roughly 170 names have been changed since 2001, the year lawmakers passed a bill banning the word.

The board's executive director, Roger Payne, said part of the holdup is that tribal officials can't agree on what word should replace the offensive term.

Payne cites a board survey of American Indian tribes. Although the majority wanted the squaw name to go, each tribe wanted to replace it with a word from its language, he said.

Oregon's Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs is an example. In 2004, after three years of debate, the Warm Springs tribal council passed a resolution approving 42 words to replace squaw on the tribe's ancestral land.

Public opposition also has slowed the process of erasing "squaw" from the U.S. map.

In Arizona, officials faced a fury of public opinion after they renamed Squaw Peak for Lori Piestewa, a Hopi servicewoman killed in Iraq.

Still, there have been times when eradicating "squaw" has gone smoothly.

In Maine's Piscataquis County, commissioners voted to universally change "squaw" to "moose." In Colorado, the endangered squawfish is now the Colorado pikeminnow. Glacier National Park's Squaw Mountain is now Dancing Lady Mountain.

In Minnesota, 18 of the 19 squaw land and water forms were rechristened without objection. The exception is the town of Squaw Lake, population 99.

"Are we supposed to change our entire language to justify a few people's misgivings?" asked Mayor Art Mertes, who maintains that the word is not derogatory.

Linguists say that Mertes is essentially right about the original meaning of "squaw." It was a word from the Massachusett tribe used as early as 1663 in a translation of the Bible to mean "woman," said Ives Goddard, a senior linguist at the Smithsonian Institution, the

But Goddard cautions that the meaning of words change over time: "As we know, lots of words are considered offensive that have perfectly innocent etymologies. The famous 'n' word just meant black."

The swift change in awareness came with a 1992 appearance on "Oprah" by writer and activist Suzan Harjo, who said the word comes from a Mohawk word for female genitalia -- and the etymology has since become accepted by many tribal leaders.

The belief that it comes from a vulgar origin has made delays in removing it even more difficult for Oregon women to tolerate.

"To even hear the word makes you feel less than the woman you are," said Myra Johnson, also a member of the Warm Springs tribe. "Especially as an Indian woman."


link (http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2005/04/01/tribes_govt_want_squaw_names_changed/)

SpiderMan
04-01-2005, 08:40 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SnakebyteXX:</font><hr> In Oregon, which has more places named "squaw" than anywhere else in the nation, only six of the roughly 170 names have been changed since 2001, the year lawmakers passed a bill banning the word.<hr /></blockquote>
"Banning the word"?!!!?? Is that taking "sensitivity" and "political correctness" a little too far? Hey, let's sponsor some legislation to ban "Honky-Tonk". I get so offended every time I hear that derogatory reference to my redneck heritage, that I can barely stand to go inside the place and shoot a little pool.

SpiderMan

Deeman2
04-01-2005, 10:37 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SpiderMan:</font><hr> Hey, let's sponsor some legislation to ban "Honky-Tonk". I get so offended every time I hear that derogatory reference to my redneck heritage, that I can barely stand to go inside the place and shoot a little pool.

SpiderMan <hr /></blockquote>

<font color="blue"> Why don't we start a grass roots movement to replace Squaw with Honky. Honky Valley, Honky Lane, etc. Geeze, what these people need is a real problem to take their minds off all the non-sense. Maybe we should replace all offending Indian (Native Peoples) terms with new words. Of course, then we would be ignoring their heritage.

A) Atlanta not-so-braves
B) Cleveland Native Americans
C) Washington White Skins </font color>
D) Florida Reservation Casino Owners, Tax Avoiders, Trade Land for Fire Water Persons...


Deeman
not PC as some would hope

Voodoo Daddy
04-01-2005, 11:12 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Deeman2:</font><hr>D) Florida Reservation Casino Owners, Tax Avoiders, Trade Land for Fire Water Persons...

Deeman
not PC as some would hope <hr /></blockquote>

Now thats funny...I dont care ya are &lt;ALA Larry the Cable Guy&gt;