We see that you have javascript disabled. Please enable javascript and refresh the page to continue reading local news. If you feel you have received this message in error, please contact the customer support team at 1-833-248-7801.



American Opinion: Erase racist names from nation’s map

From the American Opinioin editorial: Late in 2021, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland formally created a process to replace derogatory names of geographic features across the nation. She declared the word “squaw” to be derogatory and ordered a federal panel — called the Board on Geographic Names — to move forward with procedures to remove that word from federal usage.

Herald graphic
Herald graphic
We are part of The Trust Project.

Late in 2021, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland formally created a process to replace derogatory names of geographic features across the nation. She declared the word “squaw” to be derogatory and ordered a federal panel — called the Board on Geographic Names — to move forward with procedures to remove that word from federal usage.

Midwest Opinion
More American Opinion:
From the editorial: The right to marry whom you love should not be subject to the whims of an out-of-step conservative court or be left to a patchwork of state regulations. Congress must make the Respect for Marriage Act the law of the land.
From American Opinion editorial: Enter the Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force, a nationwide effort that’s being made to investigate and take legal action against companies who bring foreign robocalls into the United States. The coalition includes attorneys general from all 50 states.
The truth about the lie fits perfectly with last week’s Jan. 6 hearing, which exposed that Trump’s plan all along was to urge the ginned-up, lied-to mob to train their ire, and their fire, on the U.S. Capitol.

“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,” she said in November.

She added that it’s important to “reconcile derogatory place names” and honor the “ancestors who have stewarded our lands since time immemorial.”

Now the focus is on Squaw Gap, a tiny, unincorporated place in the extreme western portion of North Dakota. On Friday, the Department of the Interior announced that the 13-member Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force is pushing to change the name of that small hamlet in North Dakota.

At the time of that November announcement, that S-word — we agree it’s derogatory, and thus believe it should be scrubbed from place names as well as polite conversation — could be found on more than 650 federal units.


Along with the hamlet in North Dakota, six other locations are being considered for new names, including two in California and one each in Alaska, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming.

It’s not just the S-word, either. Derogatory place names based on Asian and Black populations also still exist, and many of those are similarly being phased out by federal, state and local officials who understand how these racist names perpetuate incorrect and worn-out stereotypes.

More Opinion:
From the commentary: ... The question of whether state courts should enforce state constitutional protections of voting rights should be easy to answer with a resounding yes. That it is an open question is clearly what troubled the conference of chief justices, and rightly so.
From the commentary: Even in a season marked by unpredictability, some things never change. Politics is still a street fight. And it never hurts to get in the first punch.
"As an agricultural reporter, my job is to report the news."
An editorial cartoon by Chris Britt.
From the commentary: You can understand why secular progressives hate Italy's new leader Giorgia Meloni and fear her message. Perhaps she will soon visit the U.S. and put some backbone into the Republican Party.
From the commentary: A more targeted CDC messaging campaign would prioritize the 35% of people over 65 who haven’t been boosted at all; they’d benefit the most from the retooled booster. Next on the priority list would be the over-65s who haven’t been boosted or been infected during the last six months. Even if they already had one booster, there’s now evidence that getting a second booster reduces the risk of death, so a second shot is worth it.
From the editorial: Scientists aren’t flawless or all-knowing, but they deserve more trust than those who impugn their expertise and motives for the sake of demagoguery. Whether the threat is from space, or a virus, or humanity’s own environmental shortsightedness, the solution is to trust the science — and to reject the know-nothing extremism that afflicts too much of a nation’s politics today.
An editorial cartoon by R.J. Matson.
A summary page of recent polls on WCTrib.com.
From the commentary: Maybe our current slide into fascism won’t continue; we don’t know yet, and the answer will be up to us. But we do have reason to believe that “America First,” means essentially the same thing to My Pillow’s Mike Lindell that it did to Charles Lindbergh.

Last summer, a report by the news organization Axios showed there were still more than 600 names that included the word “negro,” more than 25 with the word “Chinaman” and more than 90 with the words “redman” or “redskin.”

And it’s not just the tiny, out-of-the-way places that are changing. Even the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics recently changed from a derogatory name (Sq*** Valley) to Palisades Tahoe.

The previous name was a “hurtful term,” the resort’s COO said in a New York Times article. When the new name was announced, the resort — according to the New York Times piece — said “times change, societal norms evolve and we learn things we didn’t previously know.”


Times are changing. And if that means erasing ridiculously racist names that dot our maps, we think it’s for the better.

This American Opinion editorial is the opinion of the Grand Forks Herald (N.D.) Editorial Board.

What to read next
From the editorial: If it takes an existential threat to their vacation homes and beachfront land to finally get (the wealthy) to join the fight to save the planet, that, at least, would be a positive aspect to the latest dismal climate news.
From the editorial: ... Without concrete action soon, the entire democratic electoral process that put these policymakers in office and imbues them with power on behalf of the public is in jeopardy. Do whatever is necessary to protect the will of the people.
From the editorial: The Senate should act without delay, though whether it can overcome a Republican filibuster is uncertain. If it cannot, senators should vote on a similar Senate bill that does have bipartisan support. That one doesn't go quite as far, but something is better than nothing. ...
From the editorial: Republicans have made their point. They got the attention they wanted. Now it’s time to engage Democrats to solve the problem. ... And Democrats, you can cover your eyes and pretend the border isn’t a problem. Texans don’t have that luxury, and they will show it at the polls.