Multiple locations in Fremont County have officially removed the term ‘Squaw;’ now have new names

(Fremont County, WY) – “Squaw Creek” in Lander will now be known as “Popo Agie Creek,” according to an official statement from the Department of the Interior (DOI) released on September 8.

The DOI proposed the changes in November of 2021 to rename all of the geographical features in the nation that include the word “Squaw,” after the term was declared derogatory by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland’s Secretarial Order No. 3404.

The decision prompted much community input when the matter was raised at Lander City Council meetings when County 10 first reported on the matter, since Squaw Creek was the lone geographic feature in the area open to City discussion, but other areas in the County will go through name changes as well.

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Other geographical features in Fremont County that now have new names include:

  • “Squaw Butte,” is now “Muskrat Butte”
  • “Squaw Lake,” is now “Mary’s Lake”
  • “Squaw Creek” (different from the one already mentioned, located in both Fremont and Teton County), is now “Fireweed Creek”
  • “South Fork Squaw Creek,” is now “South Fork Popo Agie Creek”

The complete list of all the name changes with accompanying latitude and longitude coordinates of the locations can be found here.

(As a general reminder, the name changes only affect geographical features, not street or road names.)

“The Department of the Interior today announced the Board on Geographic Names (BGN) has voted on the final replacement names for nearly 650 geographic features featuring the word sq___. The final vote completes the last step in the historic efforts to remove a term from federal use that has historically been used as an offensive ethnic, racial and sexist slur, particularly for Indigenous women.

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“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,” Secretary Haaland said.

“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.”

“Secretary’s Order 3404 and the Task Force considered only the squaw derogatory term in its scope. Secretary’s Order 3405 created a Federal Advisory Committee for the Department to formally receive advice from the public regarding additional derogatory terms, derogatory terms on federal land units, and the process for derogatory name reconciliation. Next steps on the status of that Committee will be announced in the coming weeks.”

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Click here for the full DOI release.

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