February 14, 2007

The confounding s-word

Is the word "squaw" derogatory?

Comment:  Feel free to join the debate on this site.


chrisrowlandfineart said...

I just wanted to thank you for your help Rob. When these men started resisting me I went higher up. I missed the Native American Caucus where I was to address this issue but made sure to send out e-mails to key people. (Reno Charette and others.) I ended up getting very upset with Branden Long (if that is his real name) He of course acted like he was being victimized by me! What nerve. He Even wrote to the Governor complaining about me and got a letter back; concluding that there was nothing I did that was wrong...actually that was the only humorous thing about this situation, and I will spare you the details.

To make a long story short I will be meeting with Governor Brian Schweitzer on Tuesday for a photo OP with a press release(regarding the paintings that he purchased,)that will go out to all the states.

I wonder what a person could do legally to replace this guy?
Any suggestions?
Chris. I will Gladly defend and honor my sisters !!!! Power to our Beautiful Native Women !!!!

The Local Crank said...

I read through the comment war on this and I was astonished at the virulence directed toward an (apparently) elderly artist and an NDN art gallery owner. As offensive as "sq*w" is (and there is a "Sq*w Valley Golf Course" not 20 minutes from my house), I fail to see what is accomplished by screaming at and threatening people who are obviously sympathetic to NDN issues. At about the same time this was going on, another post-war erupted across the liberal blogosphere concerning "Chief Illiniwek," and it too quickly degenerated into a shouting match. People need to realize you can make an impassioned point without insulting or belittling people, especially ones who publicly state they want to hear your opinion.

chrisrowlandfineart said...

Hi Local Crank,
Yes I know, If you looked at it more carefully you would have seen that I apologized. I was angry, the s-word shouldn't be something our women have to deal with alone. As far as Al, he wasn't going to budge unless I got some people to address this issue.
Truth is I got the job done with out having to be elected to legistature, something you weren't capable of doing. Don't be mad, think of the women...Not just how Al feels.

Check this out, did you see this?
It's abou Urban Natives who have lost their way..

"Denying the gift"

I see them walking
skirting along the edges
reaching out
but never quite receiving
they don't listen
and they won't remember
the stories of
history passed on
to their
they mock themselves
as they draw attention
to their shame
no one
lights a candle
for these.
they are hurting inside
their blackening hearts
becomes familiar
and they build
there life around it
pushed back by popular
they are forced to deal with
their culture,
a never ending cycle
of self hatred
for, they will
not accept
their gift.

copyright 2007 Christopher Rowland


24. Branden
2/14/2007 5:30:14 PM MST

Arni Fishbaugh with the Montana Arts Council contacted the governors office for us, and here was the response:

Dear Montana Artists:

In response to your email to Arlynn Fishbaugh from the Montana Arts Council, please see the attached resolution. You can reach me at (406)
444-3702 should you have any questions.

Thank you.

Billie Rusek
Administrative Officer
Governor's Office of Indian Affairs
State Capitol, Helena, MT 59620
(406) 444-3702

66h Montana Legislature
Helena, Montma
February 13,2007
To: The Montana Congressional Delegation The Honorable Senator Max Baucus The Honorable Senator Jon Tester The Honorable Representative Dennis Rehberg As Chairwoman of the Montana Native American Caucus of the 6oth Montana State Legislature, I am enclosing a resolution that was ~assedb y our Caucus asking for your support of national legislation to remove the word "squaw" from public land place names.
The use of the word "Squaw" has long been a term used to denigrate American Indian women and as such denigrates all women. We ask, out of respect for our mothers, daughters, and sisters that you help eliminate this word from our nation's mountains, lakes, streams, etc.
For hundreds of years "squaw" has been used as a derogatory term to refer to Native American women. It is a word of Mohawk origin that is a vulgar description of female genitalia, and as such, is highly inappropriate for use in civilized speech.
Native women deserve a high degree of respect in the United States. A Shoshone woman, Sakakawea, guided the Lewis and Clark expedition across the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest and back again to help them achieve their goal of crossing the American continent, A Hopi woman, Pfc. Lori Piestewa gave her life in the defense of the country in the opening days of the war in Iraq- leaving behind two children and a family who loves her and Elouise Cobell, a Blackfeet Woman from Montana is leading efforts in a class action lawsuit to recover d o n s of dollars due to the mismanagement of the Government for Indian lands and minerals. These are only a few examples; Native women have made countless sacrifices in the name of the United States. They deserve more respect than to hear epithets about them used casually and without concern.
We do not intend to replace the word "Squaw" with another single word.
We believe this is an effort
that should take place by states, local governments, tribal governments, and local communities by their efforts in identifying new or historic place names that honor people from that area or perhaps a historical event. The US Board of Geographic Place Names has a process for place name changes that can be used.
Our nation will be a better place when we respect of all people of this nation. This action will help build this respect between the first people of this nation and their neighbors.
Representative Joey Jape, Chair
Rep. Norma Bkby
Representative Margie Campbell
Senator Carol Juneau, SD 8
Rep. Veronica Small Eastman
Senator Frank Smith
Senator Gerald Pease
Representative Jonathan Windy Boy
Representative Shannon Augare
Representative Douglas Cordier
Resolution of The Montana Native American Caucus 2007 6oth~ ontanaS tate Legislature Change of the Word "Squaw" in Geographic Names and Places in the United States WHEREAS, we, the members of the Native American Caucus of the Montana Legislature of 2007 are organized to assist in promoting and developing public policy toward a better understanding of the lndian people of Montana, to preserve lndian cultural values, and otherwise promote the welfare of the Montana's lndian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and WHEREAS, the National Congress of American lndians has passed a resolution which recognizes that the use and public acceptance of terms that carry derogatory connotations to lndian people serve only to further negative stereotypes and attitudes; and WHEREAS, The Montana Native American Caucus of the 2007 Legislature, supports the National Congress of American lndians in this effort, and WHEREAS, the use of the word "squaw" demeans and defames all Native American women in the past and in the present day and has no place in the future; and WHEREAS, to encourage pride and self-identify of lndian young people, and factual understanding among non-Indians, it is important to eliminate the use of negative terms; and WHEREAS, the policy of the United States Board on Geographic Names prohibits the inclusion of words in official geographic names that are derogatory to any racial, ethnic, gender or religious group and has previously taken action to remove words offensive to the African American and Japanese American people of this great nation; and WHEREAS, the Montana Native American Caucus of the 2007 Legislature is offended by the use of the word, does not believe it appropriate as a name for public lands and places, and wishes to discourage the use of this defamatory and derogatory word to describe American lndian women; and WHEREAS, Montana is one of the leaders in the nation by being the second state afler Minnesota to take action to remove the word "squaw" from public land place names in the state through the passage of section 2-15-149, MCA, and replace the names with ones chosen by the established advisory group; and NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Montana Native American Caucus of the
2007 Montana
Legislature does hereby request the Montana Congressional Delegation (Senator Baucus, Senator Tester and Representative Rehberg) to support national legislation to remove this derogatory word, Squaw, from public land place names in accordance with the National Board of Geographic Names process.
The foregoing resolution was adopted at the 2007 Legislature of the State of Montana during its 2007 Session, in Helena, Montana, on February 13, 2007, with a quorum present.
- - -
Joey Jayne, Chairperson