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Letter to the Editor: Change this name

Change this name

To the editor:

I am writing this letter to request the public’s help to change the name of Squaw Butte on the Mt. Adams District of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

I met with the district ranger last week and asked him what could be done to initiate this change. He suggested that I could write letters asking the people to write letters to the Mt. Adams Ranger Station requesting the name change. So here I am asking you for your help.

It warms my heart to see the tribes paddling their 30-foot dugout cedar canoes down the Columbia River in their annual canoe journey. I am proud of the elders reviving their first foods ceremonies. I enjoy driving the 24000 road through the Indian heaven berry fields where the handshake agreement was done between Forest Supervisor Bruckert and Chief Yallup in 1932 that gave the treaty tribes their own place to gather huckleberries and conduct their sweat lodge ceremonies and vision quests. This was a simple handshake agreement between two cultures. Words like dignity and respect and generosity come to my mind.

Three miles to the north of this area is Squaw Butte. You can see this butte from the berry fields.

I know that the old cowboy and Indian movies of the 1940s and 1950s freely used the word squaw. This word is not used anymore, except to offend and degrade a proud culture.

The name needs to be changed, just like the Forest Service did in southern Oregon a few years ago to a place that was named Squaw.

Please help this happen by writing to the Mt. Adams District office in Trout Lake, Wash. Let’s do this as one culture helping another reclaim their dignity and respect.

Jim Nielsen

Trout Lake

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