Date: Tuesday, August 9, 2022
WASHINGTON — Today, on the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced the members of the Advisory Committee on Reconciliation in Place Names, a federal advisory group to help identify and recommend changes to derogatory terms still in use for places throughout the country.
In November 2021, Secretary Haaland issued Secretary’s Order 3405, which proposed a new Federal Advisory Committee tasked to broadly solicit, review and recommend changes to derogatory geographic and federal land unit names. Committee tasks will include developing a process to solicit and assist with proposals to the Secretary to identify and change derogatory names and will engage with Tribes, the Native Hawaiian Community, state and local governments, and the public. A separate federal task force (the Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force) was established by Secretary’s Order 3404 to focus exclusively on the sq-word, a derogatory term in use more than 650 instances within federal land units alone.
"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 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.”
As directed by the Secretary’s Order, the Committee is composed of individuals who represent Tribes and Tribal organizations, Native Hawaiian organizations, the general public, or have expertise in fields including civil rights, history, geography and anthropology. The Committee also includes four ex officio members representing the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Defense and Commerce.
The Advisory Committee on Reconciliation in Place Names is composed of up to 17 members appointed by the Secretary who represent Tribes and Tribal organizations, Native Hawaiian organizations, the general public, or have expertise in fields including civil rights, history, geography, and anthropology:
The Committee also includes four ex officio members from the federal government. An all-of-government approach will be invaluable as this work is undertaken:
Members will meet for the first time in the coming months, and approximately two to four times per year, to identify geographic names and federal land unit names that are considered derogatory and solicit proposals on replacement names. Committee meetings will be open to the public and announced in the Federal Register at least 15 days in advance.