Map of geological sites renamed by the Board on Geographic Names under the Department of the Interior. (U.S. Geological Survey map)
A federal panel tasked with naming geographic places voted to replace 34 racist and derogatory terms from federal use in Nevada on Thursday.
The move comes after U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced she would take steps to remove and replace sq*** from federal use. The derogatory term has “historically been used as an offensive ethnic, racial and sexist slur, particularly for Indigenous women,” said the department.
On Thursday, the Board on Geographic Names under the Department of the Interior voted on final replacement names for nearly 650 geographic features nationally that used the derogatory term.
“I feel a deep obligation to use my platform to ensure that our public lands and waters are accessible and welcoming. That starts with removing racist and derogatory names that have graced federal locations for far too long,” said Haaland in a statement. “I am grateful to the members of the Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force and the Board on Geographic Names for their efforts to prioritize this important work. Together, we are showing why representation matters and charting a path for an inclusive America.”
A summit in Clark County was renamed Mohave Peaks. In Elko County a total of nine geographic sites were renamed, the most of any Nevada county, followed by Washoe and Humboldt both of which were required to rename five geographic sites in order to remove the derogatory term. A map of the locations and the complete list of names can be found on the U.S. Geological Survey website.
During the public comment period, the Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force, established by Haaland, received more than 1,000 recommendations for name changes. Nearly 70 Tribal governments participated in nation-to-nation consultation, which yielded several hundred recommendations.
The Task Force included representatives from the Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, National Park Service, Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Civil Rights, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, and the U.S. Geological Survey and the Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service.
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