Grandstaff Canyon in Utah. Photo: Jocelyn Catterson

Bureau of Indian Affairs supports change for name of 'Negro Bill Canyon' in Utah

The United States Board on Geographic Names has adopted a new name for the former "Negro Bill Canyon" in Utah.

The place will now be known as "Grandstaff Canyon." The Bureau of Indian Affairs, which sends a representative to the board, supported the change, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

“His name was Grandstaff; it was not Negro Bill,” Wendi-Starr Brown, a BIA employee who is a citizen of the Narragansett Tribe, said at the board's meeting on Thursday, the paper reported. “I’m pretty sure that’s not how he wanted to be addressed in life.”

Grandstaff Bill lived in Utah in the late 1800s. He was said to be of mixed-race, possibly Indian as well as African, and was said to have been a former slave.

People started calling the canyon after Bill sometime after he left the area -- allegedly for breaking bootleg laws by providing liquor to Indian people. But the original name was an offensive version of "Negro" and even that name wasn't changed until the 1960s.

Read More on the Story:
Utah’s Negro Bill Canyon renamed Grandstaff Canyon by federal board (The Salt Lake Tribune October 12, 2017)
NAACP responds to renaming of Utah’s Negro Bill Canyon (Fox13 October 12, 2017)
Grandstaff Canyon Moniker Ends Decades Of Debate (KUER October 12, 2017)

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