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Native Americans ask City of Buffalo to rename island

Posted at 1:02 PM, Nov 26, 2014
and last updated 2015-11-21 12:56:52-05
The word "squaw" is defined as a sometimes offensive term for a Native American woman, and now the push is on here locally to change the name of Squaw Island Park along the Niagara River in Buffalo. 
 
"It's a word that has been used towards a group of people, by primarily white people to dehumanize, objectify, and lump together," Jodi Lynn Maracle of the Mohawk Nation said.
  
And because of that, Maracle is spear-heading the effort to change the name of the island.  
 
"There are whole states, I know for sure Maine and I think three other states have completely banned this word from their public lands," she said.
 
She started an online petition, now with more than 300 signatures, and took the issue to the Buffalo Common Council on Tuesday.
 
"The majority feel at this time, that if it is offensive, there should be a change in the name of the island," Common Council President Rev. Darius Pridgen said. "When African Americans felt that the N word was offensive, I would have been offended at anyone who thought they knew more than what I did as an African American."
 
"I think it's embarrassing and reprehensible and offensive to still have this beautiful park on this island in Buffalo that's still called that," Maracle added.
 
Common Council member Joseph Golumbek represents the district where Squaw Island is located. He says the city's legal department is looking at the issue right now, but will most likely be quite some time before there is any sort of resolution because of many legal issues.