Interior Dept. launches initiative to replace ‘derogatory’ names for federal lands

As part of the Democrats’ never-ending quest to rewrite or even erase aspects of American history in the name of political correctness, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland has just announced that the agency she leads has initiated a “process to review and replace” what she says are “derogatory” place names used for federal lands, as Fox News reports.

In addition to establishing the renaming process and protocols, Haaland also issued a “Secretarial Order” declaring the word “squaw” as a derogatory term and directing the Board on Geographic Names to eliminate it from continued federal use, for the reason that it “has historically been used as an offensive, ethnic, racial, and sexist slur, particularly for Indigenous women.”

Haaland explained the rationale behind the push, saying, “Racist terms have no place in our vernacular or on our federal lands. Our nation’s lands and waters should be places to celebrate the outdoors and our shared cultural heritage – not to perpetuate the legacies of oppression.”

The secretary continued, “Today’s actions will accelerate an important process to reconcile derogatory place names and mark a significant step in honoring the ancestors who have stewarded our lands since time immemorial.”

According to the agency’s press release on the topic, the newly implemented Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force will be comprised of representatives form federal land management agencies and diversity, equity, and inclusion experts within the Interior Department.

Also created by Secretarial Order, the Advisory Committee on Reconciliation in Place Names will bring together members from Indian Tribes, Tribal and Native Hawaiian organizations, history and anthropology experts, and civil rights advocates, the release further indicated.

As the Daily Mail noted, some of the places names that are prime for elimination include Redskin Brook in Indiana, Chinaman Hat in Oregon, Negro Foot in Virginia, and Wetback Tank, a New Mexico reservoir, and, as Fox News noted, at present, there are over 650 federal land units that incorporate the term “squaw,” and therefore all of those will require attention during the renaming process.

Haaland’s initiative was lauded by John Echohawk, executive director of the Native American Rights Fund, who opined, “Names that still use derogatory terms are an embarrassing legacy of this country’s colonialist and racist past. It is well-past time for us, as a nation, to move forward, beyond these derogatory terms, and show Native people – and all people – equal respect.”

While the use of outdated terminology that risks offense to modern sensibilities is far from ideal, it remains an open question as to whether Haaland’s plan to conduct a sweeping review and replacement process for controversial federal place names really is the best use of her agency’s presumably limited resources.