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Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho

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The Idaho Geographic Names Advisory Council will recommend to directors of the State Historical Society that Julian Matthews be appointed to the advisory council, a move described by some as a surprise show of conciliation. The tribal member had testified during a Sept. 7 council meeting that he would like to see both Nez Perce and English translations when place names are changed, but doing away with 'squaw' was what mattered. 'They (advisory council members) want a change, and it makes us feel good.' Although the tribe didn't get all it wanted yet, the council took what tribal members considered a key step by removing the offensive terms 'squaw' and 'papoose' from eight north Idaho landmarks. Juliana Repp, a Coeur d'Alene native and Nez Perce who is an attorney in Spokane, told the council squaw 'is offensive,' adding that she was called that name as a young woman in Idaho myself. She said the removal was a first step for the advisory council and a step in the right direction. Nez Perce Elliott Moffett said he was 'pleasantly surprised' with the council show of support for the tribe, given the Legislature's refusal last winter to recommend that such place names be February 1998.