Interior is pushing states to replace derogatory place names with colonial ones
In February, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced the removal of the slur “sq—” from over 660 geographic place names around the country. The agency, which is bypassing state renaming processes, has issued its own list of suggested replacement names. But Washington state officials, noting that the new names are largely colonial, want to gather tribal input and find culturally appropriate names instead.
What’s in a Name? What It Means to Decolonize a Natural Feature
The ability to name a place is a form of power, and all too many colonial place-names are hatred inscribed upon the land. But power can also be reclaimed and recovered by the marginalized. Name-changing is more than just the acknowledgment of the United States' history of brutality toward Indigenous peoples. It signals a desire to account for this past and to build a future that holds the possibility of righting profound wrongs. Erasing from the maps the slurs that once graffitied them is a way of affirming and respecting the pre–United States existence of those who were dispossessed.
Māori Party campaigns to change New Zealand’s name to Aotearoa
"Tangata whenua are sick to death of our ancestral names being mangled, bastardised, and ignored. It's the 21st Century, this must change. It is the duty of the Crown to do all that it can to restore the status of our language," continues the statement."That means it needs to be accessible in the most obvious of places; on our televisions, on our radio stations, on road signs, maps and official advertising, and in our education system."
The power of place names
“You can’t erase history,” said Adriana Nieto, Ph.D., associate professor chair of Chicana/o Studies at MSU Denver. “Changing geological names doesn’t change our history; it reframes it. Reframing history is important because it points out the holes. Naming places is a way to remember or learn about important people and events. It changes what we talk about.”