Letter: Correct names as cultures revive



I’m writing this letter to request the public’s help to change the name of Squaw Butte in the Mount Adams district of Gifford Pinchot National Forest. I asked the district ranger what could be done to initiate this change. He suggested that I write letters asking the people to write letters requesting a name change, so here I am asking “you” for your help.

It warms my heart to see the tribes paddling their dugout cedar canoes down the Columbia River in their annual journey. I am proud of the elders reviving their First Foods Ceremony. I enjoy driving the road through the Indian Heaven fields where the “1932 Handshake Agreement” took place between Yakama Chief Yallup and Gifford Pinchot Forest Supervisor John Bruckert, which gave the tribes a treaty for their own place to gather huckleberries and conduct their sweat lodge ceremonies and vision quests.

I know that old movie westerns freely used the word “squaw,” but this word offends and degrades a proud culture. The name needs to change, just like it did in Oregon a few years ago to 16 places that used the word “squaw.” Please help by writing to the Mount Adams Ranger District, 2455 Washington 141, Trout Lake, WA 98650. Let’s do this as one culture helping another reclaim their dignity and respect.

Jim Nielsen

Trout Lake