Tennessee Site Undergoes Name Change to Remove ‘Harmful Slur’

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Board on Geographic Names (BOGN) recently finalized the renaming of five sites across the nation, including one in Tennessee, to remove a “harmful slur” from its titles.

Squawberry, which is located in Carter County, Tennessee, was given a replacement name of ‘Partridgeberry,’ which is “another common name for the plant for which the community is currently named,” according to the department.

The word ‘squaw,’ according to DOI, is a “derogatory term” and has “historically been used as an offensive ethnic, racial and sexist slur, particularly for Indigenous women.”

As previously reported in March of 2022, DOI announced that it would be declaring the term “squaw” to be derogatory, and would rename 660 historical sites that feature the term.

In September, all but seven sites were officially renamed, pending further review at the time. One of the sites given a replacement name of ‘Natchez Branch’ at the time was Squaw Branch in Lewis County, Tennessee.

In addition to Tennessee’s Squawberry, the other four sites given replacement names following DOI’s review are located in California, North Dakota, and Texas. Two more sites in Alaska and Wyoming were also being considered in being given a replacement name by the department, however, were “removed from consideration” due to where the sites were located.

“Words matter, particularly in our work to ensure our nation’s public lands and waters are accessible and welcoming to people of all backgrounds,” DOI Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement. “I am grateful to the members of the Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force and the Board on Geographic Names for their efforts to finalize the removal of this harmful word. Together, we are showing why representation matters and charting a path for an inclusive America.”

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Deb Haaland” by Secretary Deb Haaland. Background Photo “Carter County Courthouse” by Brian Stansberry. CC BY 3.0.


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19 Thoughts to “Tennessee Site Undergoes Name Change to Remove ‘Harmful Slur’”

  1. LM

    Yes , absolutely it is the expectation that “birthing person” is being used to replace “mother”. No, it has absolutely nothing to do with adoption. Sorry to disappoint you , but I’m not a Republican, either. I’m one of tens of millions of people in this country who are sick of people like you who are in lockstep with the supporters of the destruction of this country. And by the way , when the rich liberal elitists are finished taking away your healthcare, your water supply, and your electricity, they will be content to let you starve. That is the thanks you will get from them for your support. So good luck.

  2. Mean Spirited Person

    Seems to be a lot of Squawking going on about a squawberry plant. I guess squall lines referred to when dealing with storms will be determined racist next or a slur to native American women.

  3. Joe Blow

    Someone needs to terminate this squaw from her cushy government job,

  4. John Albert

    All I can find is that squaw is called offensive by white liberals. It is an original Indian word used as originally intended by the NE tribes. Hardly the definition of offensive.

    1. Judy Bell

      A mother is someone, a woman, who raises a child. Usually she is also the birthing person, or the natural mother. Sometimes in real life, the distinction needs to be made to prevent confusion. An adoptive mother is not the birthing mother. I seriously doubt anyone is planning to replace the word “mother” in common speech. Please get real. It would really be refreshing if people who think like you would get the chips off your shoulders. It would also be helpful to the entire nation if you would indeed wake up to the fact that the Democratic party is the only one what has your best interests at heart, esp. lately. The Republican party has been PLAYING you for decades. They have even confused you about the meaning of the word “woke”. Seems like everyone should understand what that basic English word means and not slander it. Open your eyes!

    2. Judy Bell

      It matters not at all what NE Indians used hundreds of years ago. It matters how it is used and abused in more recent times.

      If many people use it as a slur, then it is a slur. And it is hurtfull to the people it is applied to.

      Get over your ignorance!

    3. Judy Bell

      Last time I checked these very numerous locations with the world “squaw” in them are all over the US map, and not in New England.

  5. Tom

    The more all of these clowns try to force woke, the more I make it a point to use slurs I have never used before in my life. The list keeps growing fast!

    1. Judy Bell

      You come across as a really mean-spirited and unkind person. Do you think that is the way right way to behave?

      1. Randall Davidson

        You don’t know me at all Ms. Bell. You have your opinion, I have mine. Have a nice day.

      2. Tom

        Judy Bell is a Squaw worried about woke nonsense while the Country and World get much closer by the day to complete collapse with extremely bloody conflict including mass genocide. But everyone should recognize this amazing virtuous birthing person. Please grant this wonderful birthing person sainthood.

  6. Randall Davidson

    write the legislature, tell them to keep this democratic government overreach out of our great state. Does Tennessee get to decide our state names and places or not?

  7. LM

    Would you expect any less from the party who wants to replace “mother” with “birthing person”?

  8. Randall Davidson

    Leave our state out of this ridiculous mess.

  9. Tim Price

    More useless use of Woke Idealogy!

  10. Randy

    The most offensive part of this entire exercise is that our tax dollars funded the time and effort for this childish task force to erase history.

    1. Judy Bell

      Should we never correct abusive behavior from history so that we can go forward to create a more pleasing future, where all people are respected?

      1. Randy

        Respect is a two way street. Your intolerance for anything thing other than your own opinion is disrespectful. The very idea that by political party affiliation you can judge a persons desire to serve the public trust is abusive behavior.

      2. JB Taylor

        Spoken like a truly brain dead liberal idiot, trying to change all of world history and facts to suit their views and opinions. It is history, it is what it is, and it is not yours to change.