Word "Squaw" slowly being phased out of Oregon - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Word "Squaw" slowly being phased out of Oregon

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MORROW COUNTY, Ore. -- A derogatory word in the Native American community is slowly being phased out in Oregon. The word "squaw", originally meant Native American woman but over the years it has developed a negative connotation. Oregon lawmakers agreed to take that word out.

On Saturday, the Oregon Geographic Names Board held a meeting. The Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Reservation worked together with property owners and Morrow County to take the word out all of natural landmarks in the area. Squaw Butte is now Lone Butte, Squaw Creek is now Aspen Creek, and Squaw Spring is now Aspen Spring.

There are currently just under 200 places in Oregon with the word "squaw" in it. The process to change that has taken 10 years.

"It was fairly acceptable for a time, but in recent years particular it has become more of a derogatory word. And young Indian women in particular find it exceedingly offensive, and call it the "S" word."

The decision goes to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names for final approval. It should take about three months to make it official.