October 17, 2006

White people don't get it

Our view:  It's not just a nameWhite elected officials, such as Kootenai County Commissioner Rick Currie and state Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, don't get it.

It doesn't matter what they think the word "squaw" means. Or if they use the word in the best manner possible when they refer to geographical place names in North Idaho. Or if they're tired of name changes. Or if the name has a debatable background. In the 21st century among American Indian tribes--including the Coeur d'Alene, Nez Perce and Kootenai of the Idaho Panhandle--the term is universally regarded as a derogatory reference to female genitalia.


Anonymous said...

You are SO right on this one, Rob! For the longest time I never knew just how offensive the term was to Natives. It must be removed anywhere in the public square. Period.

Rob said...

What do you mean, "on this one"? ;-)

If you read my page on "squaw," you'll see I didn't come down that hard on it. I considered the various arguments about its origin and concluded it was stereotypical rather than obscene. But if Indians don't like it and want it removed, that's all that should matter.

Rob said...

I hadn't heard the term "squaw winter" either, but here it is:


November 5, 1922. Omaha Sunday World-Herald

Real Indian Summer Comes Only After Squaw Winter

According to archaic traditions Indian summer never sets in until after we have had squaw winter, with its cold winds and flurries of snow, and which we have not yet had.


'Squaw' entry from Hodge's Handbook

[S]quaw winter (a term in use in parts of the Canadian N. W. to designate a mild beginning of winter).