Clackamas County will rename Squaw Mountain and other landmarks

The Oregonian

June 12, 2007


Clackamas County plans to remove the word "squaw" from a fifth location, wiping a name often considered derogatory off the county map.

The latest proposal calls for Squaw Mountain Road east of Estacada to have a new name by the end of the year. The county commissioners earlier this year supported a proposal to replace the word "squaw" with "tumala" (tuh-MALL-lah) for Squaw Creek, Lakes, Meadow and Mountain in the Mount Hood National Forest. "Tumala," of Chinook Wawa origin, means tomorrow or after life.

The Oregon Geographic Names Board originally spelled the word "tamala" but now spells it "tumala" in an endeavor to more precisely match the way it is pronounced.

Six years ago, Oregon legislators called for removing the word from state geographical features. Since 2001, the Oregon Geographic Names Board has eliminated "squaw" from about 40 place names in Oregon, said board president Champ C. Vaughan, and has 140 more to go, including about 60 Squaw Creeks.

Peter Zuckerman:


'Squaw' place names erased from Clackamas County maps

The Oregonian

January 23, 2008


Clackamas County officials are close to removing the word "squaw" from place and road names, seven years after the Oregon Legislature directed them to make the change.

The Oregon Board of Geographic Names and the U.S. Board of Geographic Names in December approved substituting the Chinook Wawa word "Tumala" (tah-MALL-lah) for Squaw Creek, Lakes, Meadow and Mountain in the Mount Hood National Forest east of Estacada.

On Tuesday, the commissioners said they also want to rename Squaw Mountain Road, which they believe is the last place on county maps using the word "squaw," a reference to Native American women that is often considered derogatory.

"Tumala" suggests a spiritual sense of the future or eternal life, according to the Oregon Geographic Names Board.

"Its origin is in the historic interaction between English-speaking fur trappers and the indigenous people of the Columbia River Basin," according to a letter sent to the county by the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon, who supported the change.

At least one county resident criticized the change. In an e-mail to the commissioners, Estacada resident Bruce Poppino wrote: "I am ashamed that my county commissioners are more worried about being 'politically correct' than preserving our past."

Peter Zuckerman: