WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of the Interior announced that the Advisory Committee on Reconciliation in Place Names will hold its inaugural public meeting on Dec. 7 and 8 from 2:00pm to 6:00pm ET. The Committee, established by Secretary’s Order No. 3405, is tasked with identifying federal land unit names and geographic feature names that may be considered derogatory and creating recommendations for potential replacement names.
“Our nation’s lands and waters should be places to celebrate the outdoors and our shared cultural heritage – not to perpetuate the legacies of oppression,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “The Advisory Committee on Reconciliation in Place Names will accelerate an important process to reconcile derogatory place names. I look forward to listening and learning from this esteemed group.”
On Aug. 9, 2022, Secretary Haaland announced the 17 members of the Committee, which represent tribes and tribal organizations, Native Hawaiian organizations, and members of the public who have expertise in fields including civil rights, history, geography and anthropology. Howard Dale Valandra and Dr. Rachel Pereira will serve as Chair and Vice Chair respectively.
In September, the Department announced successful efforts to remove derogatory terms from nearly 650 geographic features across the country. These historic efforts addressed a term that has historically been used as an offensive ethnic, racial and sexist slur, particularly for Indigenous women. That process – part of a months-long effort by the Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force established by Secretary’s Order 3404 – supplements the work being done by the Advisory Committee on Reconciliation in Place Names.
Members of the public can attend the virtual meeting and request accommodations, such as sign language interpreter services or assistive listening devices, by emailing [email protected] or by calling (202) 513-7053. There will be time during the meeting for oral public comments on Dec. 8, but attendees can also submit comments via the email address ahead of time. All public comments will be part of the public record.