Washington, D.C. – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) praised Interior Secretary Deb Haaland today for announcing that she will take action to remove derogatory names from federal lands. Secretary Haaland issued two Secretarial Orders that would immediately remove the word “squaw” from more than 650 federal sites and establish an Advisory Committee to solicit public input on the fate of other potentially offensive place names.
“Today’s decisions by Secretary Haaland are timely and welcome. There is no place for such insulting language in our society or on our public lands,” Grijalva said. “Phrases like ‘squaw’ were used to attack the dignity of Indigenous peoples in this country and have no place in modern conversation. Today’s action is an important first step in dispensing with anachronistic, racist and hate-filled place names. I look forward to the Advisory Committee identifying and removing other outdated language and offensive names from our parks and public lands and creating a more inclusive environment for all Americans.”
Sec. Haaland’s actions are, in part, modeled after Rep. Al Green’s (D-Texas) bill, the Reconciliation in Place Names Act, which received a hearing in the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands on Oct. 14.
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