'Squaw' being removed from names of two geographic places

By: 
Roger Harnack
Publisher

Political correctness strikes again in the form of renaming geographic features.
On Thursday, the state Committee on Geographic Names approved renaming the popular Squaw Saddle area near Wenatchee as "Saddle Gap."
A previously unnamed rocky outcropping above the gap will be called "Saddle Rock."
The change from Squaw Saddle to Saddle Gap was backed by the Colville Confederated Tribes, state officials said.
The renaming was one of two approved by the committee because current names include the word, "squaw."
The other change was to rename Whatcom County's Squaw Creek to "Paatstel Creek," officials said. That change was requested by a Nooksack Tribe member.
The use of the word "squaw" has come under fire in recent years in Washington state, where some insist it is a derogatory term for an American Indian woman.
However, some scholars say the word stems from some East Coast tribes and the Algonquian language, which includes words like "nidobaskwa," meaning female friend; "manigebeskwa," meaning woman of the woods; and "squaw sachem," meaning female chief.
English settlers first coined the term "squaw" in the 1600s as an abbreviation of traditional tribal words they had difficulty pronouncing, some historians say, noting the meaning should not be considered an insult.
Those name changes and others approved by the committee will be forwarded to the state Board of Natural Resources for final approval.
Names approved by the board are published in Washington Administrative Code and forwarded to the federal Board on Geographic Names for federal consideration.

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