Mountain in Routt County on list to be renamed |

Mountain in Routt County on list to be renamed

Peak is one of 28 geological features in Colorado being renamed because of offensive term

The small peak known as Squaw Mountain in Routt County just south of the Wyoming boarder is on a list to be renamed.
U.S. Geological Survey

A mountain in far North Routt County stands as one of 22 summits in the country with the same name that are slated to get a new moniker.

Each is called Squaw Mountain, and they are among hundreds of geographical features across the U.S. that are being renamed following Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s declaration last year that the term is derogatory.

The local mountain — not to be confused with the peak in Clear Creek County that was renamed last year — is one of 28 geographical features across Colorado that the state’s Geographic Naming Advisory Board is seeking input on new names.

The mountain isn’t considered a popular local destination. It is hours away from Steamboat, not part of the Routt National Forest and on the edge of land owned by the Bureau of Land Management. The mountain also is somewhat unimpressive, rising to just over 8,500 feet, putting it outside the tallest 100 peaks in Routt County.

It is the only geological feature being renamed in Routt County, but there are creeks, canyons, lakes and gulches throughout the state going through the same process.

The mountain is east of Cantling Creek and south of the Little Snake River, two nearby features that have been listed as possible inspirations for the mountain’s new name, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Other features such as Battle Creek, Road Gulch or Spring Gulch could inspire more potential names.

These names are currently under a 60-day comment period by the geological survey, in addition to a 90-day tribal consultation. The state naming board is giving Coloradans an opportunity to suggest names as well.

“The (naming board) welcomes the public to submit replacement names for the board to consider in its recommendations to the federal task force,” the board said in a news release on Tuesday, March 1.

Both the state and federal groups will give preference to names submitted by tribes. The peak in Clear Creek County was renamed Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain last September in honor of an important translator in the early 1800s, according to the Denver Post.

The translator, who’s name means Owl Woman, was a member of the Cheyenne tribe. She helped bridge the divide between indigenous tribes and white settlers in Colorado before many military-ordered massacres and removals, the Post wrote.

Both dictionary definitions of the word “squaw” are listed as offensive, with one also being labeled as both dated and disparaging.

The Interior Secretary has used such authority to rename features in the past.

In 1962, names that used a pejorative term for African-Americans started to be eliminated. In 1974, another offensive term for Japanese was also removed from use.

“The time has come to recognize that the term ‘squaw’ is no less derogatory than others which have been identified and should also be erased from the national landscape and forever replaced,” Haaland wrote in the order.

Those wishing to submit suggestions for any Colorado features being renamed can submit a recommendation to the state board by emailing, through an online form, or by mailing the board’s administrator at 1313 Sherman Street, Room 718, Denver, Colorado 80203.

Suggestions need to be submitted by April 4.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.