• Creek with name considered offensive gets new moniker


    The Washington Department of Natural Resources has renamed a creek whose former name was considered to be offensive.

    What was once known as Squaw Creek, a 6-mile-long stream located southwest of Methow in Okanogan County, was renamed Swaram Creek. 

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    The name, proposed by residents of Okanagan County, is based on a word from the Methow language meaning "torch light fishing at night."

    In April 2016, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal initiated a review of ethnically and racially offensive geographic names in Washington state. 

    Jayapal acknowledged that some of the creeks and lakes with offensive names may be in remote places. But she says they still stand as a reminder of times when women and members of many ethnic groups were treated poorly.

    Jayapal and the DNR identified 48 places in Washington with offensive names, including "Coon Creek" in King County.  See a map and list of names here.

    Geographic place names reviewed by the board are submitted by citizens. Once approved by the board, the names are published in the Washington Administrative Code and forwarded to the United States Board on Geographic Names for its consideration.

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