Yakama Nation Granted Derogatory Feature Name Change
Nine tribal proposals to rename features across Washington state that once bore a derogatory term for Native American women are now official after the Board of Natural Resources approved them during its meeting Tuesday morning.
The Washington State Committee on Geographic Names approved the nine proposals this week including proposals from the Confereated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation.
The changes were made after orders from the Interior Department
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 proposals from the Yakama Nation included "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 included a lake in Skamania County southeast of Blue Lake. It will 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 changes requested and approved by the Yakama Nation include;
A Skamania County butte will 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 will 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 will be named Shluxiksikswana, meaning “the eating place,” after the name of the Klickitat village site within the drainage.
The name changes come after research and reviews
The Committee on Geographic Names reviewed each geographic name change proposal twice, allowing for public comment and tribal consultation. Following the discussions, the Committee decides whether to recommend that the Board of Natural Resources approve a name proposal. The proposals were approved Tuesday. Once the Committee approved 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 the 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. It's action that's already underway in Washington State.
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