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Federal board denies county’s proposed geographic names

By Sean Hart

Blue Mountain Eagle

Published on November 23, 2016 1:03PM

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names denied Grant County’s most recent request to change names of two geographic features formerly known as Squaw Creek and Squaw Meadow.

In a Nov. 1 letter to County Judge Scott Myers and Commissioners Chris Labhart and Boyd Britton, U.S. Board on Geographic Names Executive Secretary Lou Yost said the board had already changed the names for the creek and meadow near U.S. Highway 26 near the Grant-Baker county line to Wiwaanaytt Creek and Wiwaanaytt Meadow at a meeting April 14.

At the April 14 meeting, the board changed the names of 13 features in Grant County that previously contained “squaw” in the name. Seven of the names were proposed by the county — Donaldson Rock, Myrtle Spring, Frosty Meadow, Mona Creek, Shootingstar Meadow, Sharp Creek and Goose Creek — and six of the names were proposed by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation — Skaypiya Creek, Little Skaypiya Creek, Kuckuc Creek, Wiwaanaytt Creek, Wiwaanaytt Meadow and Wewa Creek.

As of the April meeting, the county had proposed retaining the names Squaw Creek and Squaw Meadow for the two features near the Grant-Baker county line. The county submitted proposals to change those names to Sullens Creek and Sullens Meadow June 8.

In the recent letter denying the Sullens proposals, Yost said the board considered the proposals before denying them.

“The BGN briefly discussed the proposals for Sullens Creek and Sullens Meadow at its July 14th meeting, and again in more detail at its August 11th and October 13th meetings,” Yost said in the letter. “At the October meeting, the BGN voted unanimously to not accept the proposals since the Grant County Court’s recommendation at the time of the BGN’s April 14th decisions was to retain the names Squaw Creek and Squaw Meadow, and because the County submitted the new proposals after the decisions had already been made.”

Britton, the commissioner who led the county’s effort to propose names intended to be more authentic to the locations and easier to pronounce for the majority of the local population, said he was disappointed with the board’s decision and the “tone” of Yost’s letter.


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