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State naming board votes to recommend name change for Squaw Mountain

Colorado's Geographic Naming Board voted in favor of a name change for Squaw Mountain in Clear Creek County.

CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. — Just days after a resort at Lake Tahoe changed its name from Squaw Resort to Palisades Tahoe, Colorado's Geographic Naming Board voted in favor of a name change for Squaw Mountain in Clear Creek County.

The new name, one advanced by the Northern Cheyenne tribe, would be Mestaa’ėhehe (pronounced mess-ta-HAY) Mountain. 

The word "Squaw" is considered offensive, especially to indigenous women, according to Indian Country Today.

It's the first name change approved by the 13-member board, which convened after a five-year absence last year .

The unanimous vote is a recommendation to Gov. Jared Polis to approve the name change, and it also must be reviewed by the U.S. Board of Geographic Names. The federal board's representative told the Colorado board in June that this name change has been waiting for four years and urged the Colorado board to act quickly. Clear Creek County commissioners have also signed off on the change.

The federal board has already made that naming change for at least 16 other landmarks around the country, and at least seven states (Oklahoma, Oregon, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, South Dakota and Arizona) have taken legislative action to remove the name from all of their geographic landmarks.

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