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The Biden administration has changed the names of 5 places where the term “harmful” was used for Native American women

The Biden administration has changed the names of 5 places where the term “harmful” was used for Native American women

The Biden administration has changed the names of 5 places where the term “harmful” was used for Native American women

Department of Internal Affairs The board announced Thursday that it had voted to change the names of five state locations across the country that previously featured a racist term for an American woman.

The agency said in a statement that the Board on Geographic Names has voted on final replacement names for nearly 650 geographic features, but an additional review of seven locations “considered unincorporated communities” has been completed.

Five of the seven renamed sites are located in California, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas.

The changes come after a year-long process to remove the historically offensive word “squaw” from the names of geographic sites across the country.

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Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland visits Camp Amache Cemetery in Granada, Colorado on Saturday, February 19, 2022.
(Photo by Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

“Words are especially important in our work to ensure that our nation’s public lands and waters are accessible and safe for people of all backgrounds,” he said. Home Secretary Deb Holland stated in the statement. “I’m grateful to the members of the Offensive Geographical Names Task Force and the Council on Geographical Names for their efforts to complete the removal of this harmful word. Together, we’re showing why representation matters and paving the way for an inclusive America.”

Two locations in Alaska and Wyoming were excluded from consideration.

A list of all new names will be updated on the US Geological Survey website.

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland speaks at a news conference on July 22, 2021 in Denver.

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland speaks at a news conference on July 22, 2021 in Denver.
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

In North Dakota, the new name Homesteaders Gap was chosen as a nod to the community’s local history, although the area’s residents are divided.

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Two more newly named places Communities of the Central Valley of California Loybas Hill, which translates as “Young Lady”, and the Jokuts Valley.

The others are Partridgeberry, Tennessee and Lynn Creek, Texas.

A statue of Simon Bolivar and Stuart Lee Udall from the Department of the Interior, Friday, July 16, 2021, in Washington, DC.

A statue of Simon Bolivar and Stuart Lee Udall from the Department of the Interior, Friday, July 16, 2021, in Washington, DC.
(Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The decision was long overdue and ordered by the department changing place names with derogatory words for blacks and Japanese in 1962 and 1974, respectively.

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It should be noted that Haaland is the first American to head the Cabinet Office.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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