The U.S. is Trying to Replace a Derogatory Term That is Offensive to Native American Women

By: Tricia Desroches

The United States is trying to find a new name to replace a derogatory name for Indigenous women. The Department of the Interior decided that the word “squaw” is a derogatory name in November 2021. The department said that the word used to be used as “an offensive ethnic, racial, and sexist slur” towards Indigenous women. 

The origin of the word is the Algonquian word for “women.” Throughout history, white people have butchered the meaning of the word. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said that “Racist terms have no place in our vernacular or on our federal lands. 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.” 

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland is the first Native American to serve as the secretary of the Cabinet. Replacing the word is very important to her because it discriminates against her and many others like her. The word represents how bad Native Americans have been treated throughout history. Native Americans have always been treated poorly. It goes back to the Pilgrim days. 

The words that are used in the government shouldn’t make a large number of people feel unsafe in their country. Before everybody came to the Americas the only people here were the Native Americans. Then everybody started coming and taking up the land as if it were theirs.

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