28 Colorado features to be renamed, stripped of slur from titles

The Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board is in the process of removing the derogatory term “squaw” from 28 of the state’s geographic features.

The board met Sunday and considered new name recommendations from local communities as they look to replace the offensive term for Indigenous women used on mountains, creeks, canyons and other locations across Colorado.

The board published a list of suggestions for new names, such as rechristening Squaw Mountain in Summitt and Routt counties with names such as Petite Teton, Tahoe Mountain, Ely Peak or Mule Dear Mountain.

The board was established by Gov. Jared Polis and includes more than a dozen people from across the political and cultural landscapes. In 2021, the board renamed a peak in Clear Creek to Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain (pronounced mess-ta-HAY) in honor of an important Cheyenne translator.

Now more of the state’s mountains, canyons and waterways will soon have new names.

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland declared “squaw” a derogatory term last year. She is the country’s first Native American Cabinet official.

The board is also in the process of renaming other areas that may be offensive.

It is ultimately up to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names, which gives final determinations for standardizing the names of geographic and natural features.

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