DENVER — A Clear Creek County mountain has a new name: Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain.
The U.S. Board of Geographic Names approved the name change on Thursday for what was formerly known as Squaw Mountain. The Colorado Geographic Naming Board voted in favor of the new name (pronounced mess-taw-HAY) in September.
The new name for the 11,459-foot mountain south of Idaho Springs was advanced by the North Cheyenne tribe. Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain is named in honor of an influential 19th-century Cheyenne translator known as Owl Woman.
The word "Squaw" is considered offensive, especially to indigenous women.
The U.S. Forest Service said in a statement:
"We are pleased to see this mountain receive the name change to Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain, a name that honors an influential Indigenous woman who played such an important role in Colorado history. We are grateful for the coordination with local county and state officials, and the affiliated tribal governments throughout the process. The USDA Forest Service will initiate the process of renaming our administrative sites to honor her accordingly and will update our signage as quickly as possible."
The GNIS (Geographic Names Information System) database will be updated in the coming weeks with the new name, according to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names.
This was the first name change approved by the 13-member Colorado Geographic Naming Board, which was created by an executive order from Gov. Jared Polis in July 2020.
The state board has submitted requests to the U.S. board for several name changes in Colorado. Those include Kit Carson Mountain in Saguache County and Mount Evans in Clear Creek County.
WATCH: How to pronounce Mestaa'ėhehe, new name of mountain in Clear Creek County
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