Buffalo city lawmakers consider renaming ‘Squaw Island’

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Buffalo’s Common Council is scheduled to take up a proposal to rename an island in the Niagara River because the current name has been called both racist and sexist.

Squaw Island could become Unity Island following a request for a new name from two Native American women last year. The women say the word “squaw” is viewed by many Native Americans and others as derogatory.

A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

A historic marker at the island says it was originally called Divided Island by the Seneca Indian Nation, referring to a creek that runs through and divides the land. It was named Squaw Island by the men of LaSalle’s expedition in 1679, [when explorer Robert de La Salle gave the land mass the name “Squaw Island”, a gesture to the area’s native population].

The island, accessible by a bridge, is a 60-acre city park.

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