Hózhó Life Inc, a Phoenix organization, extends its gratitude to the Board of Directors/staff of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and/or Arizona State Board on Geographic And Historic Names for its recent decision to rename Squaw Tits Summit, in the town of Maricopa, to Isanaklesh Peak. This move comes in response to a Change.org petition submitted by the MOTHRA Gish Team two years ago. The renaming effort gained tractions with the renewed support this year of more than 500 petitioners in the first week of February.
The official name change will allow administrators from various websites to update the name change. Such websites as Peakbagger.com and ListsOfJohn.com have already updated their database. Wikipedia and topographic maps can be updated as well.
There are 73 natural features in the state of Arizona that still contain “Squaw” in their name. Two Arizona mountain summits have been renamed. On 04/08/2010, Squaw Peak was officially named Piestewa Peak and is in Phoenix, Arizona. This summit is surrounded by businesses and residents. The other summit, Squaw Tits, located in Maricopa near Gila Bend, AZ officially renamed Isanaklesh Peaks on 02/11/2021. Isanaklesh, is an Apache term for Mother Earth.
According to Wikipedia, the English word “squaw” is an ethnic and sexual slur, historically used to refer to Indigenous North American women. Contemporary use of the term, especially by non-Natives, is considered offensive, derogatory, misogynist and racist. Using this term dehumanizes Indigenous people, especially women, throughout communities in the United States.
Using “squaw” to describe or name a natural feature is offensive and dehumanizing to Indigenous people. The most offensive use of the term is naming of a summit “Squaw Tit.” There are currently 5 mountain summits with that name. Those summits are in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Nevada, and Nebraska.
Jennifer Touchine with Hózhó Life, Inc and the MOTHRA Gish Team will combine efforts to start a petition to rename Squaw Tit in the Sand Tank Mountains in Maricopa, Arizona and a petition to rename Squaw Peak south of Camp Verde, Arizona.