The Oregonian has an interesting report today on a long-overdue effort: Erasing "squaw" from the names of Oregon creeks and landmarks.
It's crazy that, until recently, 163 places in Oregon were still bearing the name of the racial slur, including a whopping 63 Squaw Creeks (more than any other state). Apparently our pioneers weren't very creative.
Now, a coalition on Indian groups is trying to erase all Squaws from the map. But it's slow work. Nine years after the campaign started, only 37 Squaws have changed to more accurate, historical names. "We can't just name it some cute, Indian-sounding name," historian Sharon Nesbit tells the Oregonian. "They want accurate names that reflect their pronunciation."
It seems like a pretty low bar to set for the state (like closing down the Coon Chicken Inn in Hollywood), but of course some people are bound to bicker that erasing racist names is a waste of taxpayer money.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!