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Interior Department removes anti-Native slur from nearly 650 geographic features

The U.S. Department of the Interior  announced that the Board on Geographic Names has officially replaced nearly 650 names that had previously included a slur historically used against Indigenous women. Sixty-five of those renamed geographic features are in Arizona.

This final vote by the board was the last step in the U.S. government’s efforts to remove the term from federal use. 

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland says she feels she has a “deep obligation” to make sure public lands and waters are welcoming to all people, and removing racist and derogatory names is a part of that process.

Haaland had  created the Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force back in 2021 that took on this effort. It included representatives from multiple departments and offices and nearly 70 tribal governments helped in the process.

The new names are posted on the U.S. Geological Survey website.

Jill Ryan joined KJZZ in 2020 as a morning reporter, and she is currently a field correspondent and Morning Edition producer.