New law will remove the word ‘squaw’ from California place names
A U.S. law that removes “squaw” from the state’s official name and replaces it with “Tahitian” has passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a vote of 220-211, with 19 voting against. According to the New York Daily News, an amended version, which passed the Senate by a vote of 55-44, removed the word “squaw” from all California state place names, with the exception of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The amendment will go into effect immediately.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the new state law in April, the last action needed to make the changes in place names.”
A new article in the Washington Post says “the University of California has taken special exception to the new law, calling it a ‘blatant attack on Native Americans and our cultural heritage’ that would take the university’s history and ‘territory with it.’
The University of California said the law is ‘extremely destructive’ because it alters the official history of the state.”
The LA Times notes that the University of California had been “already grappling with a lawsuit over its name, which for 15 years has carried the word’squaw,’ in a reference to a type of Native American dance” before the law was passed.