State Changes Names of Areas Derogatory To Indigenous Women
State officials are working to rename features in the state's geography "bearing a derogatory term that refers to Indigenous women." In fact the Washington State Committee on Geographic Names approved nine proposals this week including proposals from the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation.
A press release from the state says the "proposals from tribes came in the wake of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s orders last year to rename geographic features throughout the country."
The Yakama nation submitted a number of proposed changes
The proposals from the Yakama Nation include "a pair of Columbia River islands in Klickitat County would be named Sq’wanana, meaning “two sitting on lap.” The name would reflect the names of the islands in the native language."
Other proposals include a lake in Skamania County southeast of Blue Lake. It would be named "Aalvic Wahtum, after Lucille Aalvic. Aalvic was a citizen of the Yakama Nation who lived in Stevenson after being removed from her original family home by the Army Corps of Engineers during the construction of the Bonneville Dam. Aalvic was the first officially enrolled citizen of the Yakama Nation."
Other proposed changes requested by the Yakama Nation include;
A Skamania County butte would be named Pataniks Pushtye, referencing the name of Lulukash, the child of the woman for whom the nearby twin buttes are named.
A Skamania County creek along East Canyon Ridge would be named Timla Wapykt from the traditional name of the adjacent butte, Timla-Timla Pushtye, meaning “little heart mountain of that shape.”
A Skamania County stream that flows into the Little White Salmon River would be named Shluxiksikswana, meaning “the eating place,” after the name of the Klickitat village site within the drainage.
Many reviews are made before an actual name is changed
The Committee on Geographic Names reviews each geographic name change proposal twice, allowing for public comment and tribal consultation. Following these discussions, the Committee decides whether to recommend that the Board of Natural Resources approve a name proposal.
Once the Committee approves proposals that are up for final consideration, it forwards its recommendations to the Board of Natural Resources, acting as the Washington State Board on Geographic Names. If the board approves these recommendations, the approved names are added to the Washington Administrative Code and the Board passes them along to the United States Board on Geographic Names for federal review.