By Native News Online Staff
On the International Day of Indigenous Peoples, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) announced Tuesday, Aug. 9, the names of the members of the Place Names Reconciliation Advisory Committee, a federal advisory group tasked with help identify and recommend changes to derogatory terms still used for places across the country.
The Advisory Committee is the result of the collaboration of Sec.Haaland Secretary’s Order 3405 she released last November. The committee is responsible for “soliciting, reviewing and broadly recommending changes to the derogatory names of geographic and federal territorial units. The committee’s duties 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 working group (the Derogatory Geographical Names Working Group) has been established by Secretary’s Order 3404 to focus exclusively on the “square word”, a pejorative term used in more than 650 cases within federal territorial units alone.
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“Our nation’s lands and waters should be places to celebrate the outdoors and our shared cultural heritage – not to carry on the legacy of oppression,” Secretary Haaland said in a statement released by the Ministry of Health. Interior. “The Place Names Reconciliation Advisory Committee will expedite an important process to reconcile offending place names. I look forward to listening and learning from this esteemed group.
The Committee is made up of individuals who represent tribes and tribal organizations, Native Hawaiian organizations, the general public, or who have expertise in areas such as civil rights, history, geography, and anthropology. The Committee also includes four ex officio members representing the Ministries of Interior, Agriculture, Defense and Trade.
The Place Name Reconciliation Advisory Committee is composed of up to 17 members appointed by the Secretary who represent tribes and tribal organizations, Native Hawaiian organizations, the general public, or who have expertise in areas such as civil rights, history, geography and anthropology:
- Derek Alderman – Professor of Geography, University of Tennessee
- Angelo Baca – Assistant Professor, Department of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences, Rhode Island School of Design (Diné/Hopi)
- Kiana Carlson – JD Candidate, Mitchell Hamline School of Law (Ahtna Kohtaene, Taltsiine; Native Village of Cantwell, Alaska)
- Julie Dye – Board Member, Eliminating Racism & Creating/Celebrating Equity (Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians)
- Michael catches the enemy – Tribal Archaeologist, Office of the Fifth Member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe (Oglala Sioux)
- Donald Lee Fixico – Professor of History and Indian Studies, Arizona State University (Sac & Fox, Shawnee, Mvskoke, Seminole)
- Christine Karpchuk-Johnson – Lecturer, Departments of Anthropology and Geography, University of Nevada Reno
- Niniaukapealiʻi Kawaihae – Special Assistant, Department of Hawaiian Native Lands
- Jason McCannell – Special Assistant to the Director, California Department of Parks and Recreation
- Mills of Kamana’olana – Senior Supervising Project Manager, Sustainable Industry Development, Kamehameha Schools, Hawaiʻi
- Lauren Monroe Jr. – Secretary, Blackfeet Tribal Business Council (Blackfeet Nation, Pikuni)
- Federico Mosque – Arapaho Language and Culture Program Coordinator (Arapaho)
- Rachel Pereira – Vice President of Equity and Inclusion at St. John’s University
- Kimberly Probolus-Cedroni – Historian, Washington DC
- Howard Dale Valandra – Tribal Land Enterprise Board Member (Rosebud Sioux Tribe)
- Aimee Villarreal – Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Texas State University
- Elva Yanez – Senior Advisor for Parks, Land Use and Built Environment at the Prevention Institute
The Committee also includes four ex-officio members from the federal government. A whole-of-government approach will be invaluable as this work is undertaken:
- Charles BoweryExecutive Director, U.S. Army Center of Military History, Department of Defense
- meryl harrelDeputy Assistant Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Elizabeth (Liz) Klein, Senior Advisor to the Secretary, Department of Interior
- Letise La FeirPrincipal Advisor, Office of the Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, Department of Commerce
Members will meet for the first time over the next few months, and approximately two to four times a year, to identify geographical names and federal territorial unit names that are considered derogatory and solicit proposals for replacement names.
Committee meetings will be open to the public and announced in the Federal Register at least 15 days in advance.
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