Deb Haaland
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. Photo: U.S. Department of the Interior
Nominations open for new Advisory Committee on Reconciliation in Place Names
Friday, January 7, 2022
Indianz.Com

The Department of the Interior is soliciting nominations for the new Advisory Committee on Reconciliation in Place Names.

The committee will review and replace racist and derogatory place names throughout the nation. Secretary Deb Haaland, who is the first Native person in a presidential cabinet, announced the creation of the advisory panel last November.

“Too many of our nation’s lands and waters continue to perpetuate a legacy of oppression. This important advisory committee will be integral to our efforts to identify places with derogatory terms whose expiration dates are long overdue,” Haaland said in a news release on Friday. “I look forward to broad engagement from Tribes, civil rights scholars and academics, stakeholders, and the general public as we advance our goals of equity and inclusion.”

According to a notice being published in the Federal Register on Monday, the committee will consist of no more than 17 members. Six slots are reserved for tribal and Native representatives.

“The establishment of this committee is a momentous step in making our nation’s public lands and waters more welcoming and open to people of all backgrounds,” said National Park Service Director Chuck Sams, who is the first Native person to lead the agency. “These committee members, who will reflect the diversity of America, will serve their country in an important way.”

Nominations must be submitted to Joshua Winchell, in the Office of Policy at the National Park Service, via joshua_winchell@nps.gov. They are due within 45 days of publication of the notice on Monday.

In addition to creating the committee, Haaland established the Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force of government employees within Interior. The group is working with the Board on Geographic Names to remove “squaw” from place names across the country.

Federal Register Notice

Advisory Committee on Reconciliation in Place Names Establishment; Request for Nominations (To Be Published January 10, 2022)

Interior Department Seeks Nominations for Committee to Replace Derogatory Names
The following is the text of a January 7, 2021. news release from the Department of the Interior.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of the Interior announced today that it is seeking nominations for members of the new Advisory Committee on Reconciliation in Place Names. The committee will identify geographic names and federal land unit names that are considered derogatory and solicit proposals on replacement names.

On November 19, 2021, Secretary Deb Haaland directed the National Park Service to form the committee as part of a broad effort to review and replace derogatory names of the nation’s geographic features. Secretary Haaland also declared “squaw” to be a derogatory term and instructed the Board on Geographic Names – the federal body tasked with naming geographic places – to implement procedures to remove the term from federal usage.

“Too many of our nation’s lands and waters continue to perpetuate a legacy of oppression. This important advisory committee will be integral to our efforts to identify places with derogatory terms whose expiration dates are long overdue,” said Secretary Haaland. “I look forward to broad engagement from Tribes, civil rights scholars and academics, stakeholders, and the general public as we advance our goals of equity and inclusion.”

“The establishment of this committee is a momentous step in making our nation’s public lands and waters more welcoming and open to people of all backgrounds,” said National Park Service Director Chuck Sams. “These committee members, who will reflect the diversity of America, will serve their country in an important way.”

The Committee will consist of no more than 17 discretionary members to be appointed by the Secretary, including:

  1. At least four members of an Indian Tribe;
  2. At least one representative of a Tribal organization;
  3. At least one representative of a Native Hawaiian organization;
  4. At least four people with backgrounds in civil rights or race relations;
  5. At least four people with expertise in anthropology, cultural studies, geography, or history; and
At least three members of the general public.

Nominations must include a resume providing an adequate description of the nominee’s qualifications, including information that would enable the Department to make an informed decision regarding meeting the membership requirements of the committee and contact information. More details on the committee and how to apply are available in the Federal Register.

Nominations for the committee must be submitted to Joshua Winchell, Office of Policy, National Park Service, at joshua_winchell@nps.gov.