The Department of Interior announced Thursday it has renamed nearly 650 geographic features in the U.S., including two in Montana, replacing the word “sq—,” which is an offensive ethnic, racial and sexist slur, particularly for Native women.
Sq— Meadows Creek, a stream in Flathead County, has been renamed Lefthand Creek.
And Sq— Meadows, a prairie also located in Flathead County, is now named Lefthand Meadow.
Vernon Finley, Kootenai Culture Committee director, said both areas that were renamed are located in Kootenai aboriginal territory. “Lefthand,” he said, is a prominent name in the Kootenai community, and the new names specifically refer to Alec Lefthand, a cultural leader.
Finley, who has been working to remove derogatory terms from place names for years, said he hopes the new names will promote respect.
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“I think this will help bring awareness that we’re not mascots; we’re not just a sideshow,” Finley said. “We’re living, breathing cultures. America’s claim is that rights are ‘for all.’ Yet, they fail to see that the original