April 01, 2008

Piestewa or Squaw Peak?

Will feds pick 'Piestewa Peak'?

Board to vote on idea as 5-year wait endsFive years after the issue set off a political storm in Arizona, a federal panel will consider renaming Squaw Peak after fallen soldier Lori Piestewa.

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names is expected to vote April 10 on whether to change the name of the summit, one of the Valley's highest, on maps and other federal publications. The board requires a five-year waiting period to consider such posthumous requests, in part to allow those who argue passionately for or against a name to cool down.

In this case, the vote is once again refueling the debate over renaming Squaw Peak after Piestewa, the first American Indian woman to die in combat while serving in the U.S. military. Some argue the name should stay the same or be named in honor of all veterans.
Many whites love their "squaws":Most of the communication the national board is receiving regarding Squaw Peak is over the Piestewa name, Runyon said.

"It's about 50-50 for those for and against," she said.

Larry Wayt, who hikes Piestewa Peak four days a week and leads a "Squaw Peak" hiking group, doesn't want the federal government to follow the state's adoption of the name.

"It needs to remain Squaw Peak," he said. "It's been Squaw Peak forever."
Comment:  White supremacy at the expense of blacks, Indians, and other minorities has been around forever too. That needs to change, not remain the same.

So half the people want to keep the stereotypical "squaw" name? No doubt these are the same people who want to "honor" Indians with cartoonish mascots while ignoring the wishes of real Indians.

I don't claim that Piestewa Peak is the best possible name for the mountain. But Squaw Peak is one of the worst possible names. The feds should change the name to something.

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