Interior Department Moves Toward Final Steps To Remove Derogatory Names From Federal Lands

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of the Interior announced that the 13-member Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force has concluded its review of the more than 660 geographic features featuring a term that has historically been used as an offensive ethnic, racial and sexist slur, particularly for Indigenous women. The Task Force was established in February as directed by Secretary’s Order 3404.

In February, the Department launched a public comment period to provide feedback and review of recommended replacement names. The Task Force received more than 6,600 comments from the public, with an additional 300 comments gained through nation-to-nation consultations. The Task Force this week provided replacement name recommendations to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN). The BGN is expected to vote on the Task Force recommendations in September, at which point a final list will be published.

“I am grateful to the Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force for their work to ensure that racist names … no longer have a place on our federal lands,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “I look forward to the results of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names vote, and to implement changes as soon as is reasonable.”

In addition to the replacement names recommendation to the BGN, the Interior Department has also recommended an additional review by the BGN for seven of the 660 features. Those seven locations are considered unincorporated populated places. Noting that there are unique concerns with renaming these sites, the BGN will seek out additional review from the local communities and stakeholders before making a final determination.