DOVER-FOXCROFT (AP) – County commissioners want to restore the name “squaw” to 14 places in Piscataquis County more than six years after a state law was passed requiring that mountains, waterways and other public places called “squaw” or “squa” be renamed.

The Piscataquis County commissioners sent a letter last month to Gov. John Baldacci asking to change the places in the county that were renamed “moose” back to their original name of “squaw.”

The commissioners said they also plan to ask Rep. Earl Richardson, R-Greenville, to sponsor legislation for the change.

Commissioner Tony Bartley said commissioners felt obligated to take action after hearing negative feedback from landowners and tourists about the name changes.

When the law was passed, it rankled many county residents who said some of the features in the county named “squaw” actually were named by the Indians, he said.

“This change is in no way intended to offend anyone,” Bartley said.

“Moose” replaced the word “squaw” in Piscataquis County six years ago when then-Gov. Angus King signed into law a bill required the renaming of all public places in the state called “squaw” and “squa.”

Many American Indians consider the name squaw offensive and asked the Legislature earlier to outlaw it. Some Indians testified that the word has been used to mean a woman of loose morals. A spokesman in the governor’s office said he had not seen the letter from the commissioners, which was addressed to the governor.

but sent to the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation. Officials at that department said they weren’t aware of the letter.

Donald Soctomah of the Passamaquoddy Tribe in Pleasant Point, who sponsored the original bill to rename public places with the name “squaw” in them, said passing the law was hard enough in the first place. Soctomah said he was upset to hear that someone wanted to resume use of the word.

“I’m sure Maine taxpayers want to spend their money on something more productive than to go through something again that caused such hard feelings with the native people,” Soctomah said.


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