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Updated: May 15

If the State and Native American tribes have their way, you won't be able to visit Squaw Lake anymore, nor would you be able to visit Squaw Creek Ridge, either. Not under those names, anyway. Last week, the Washington State Committee on Geographic Names voted to rename those and three other landmarks in the state that have what are considered derogatory names.

Squaw Lake, which is five miles west of Lake Wenatchee, would be renamed Masawii Lake, a name proposed by the Colvilee Reservation. It stands for the Indian parsnip that would be collected in the Wenatchi tribal area.

For the formerly-named “Squaw Creek Ridge” based in Okanogan County, the Colville Reservation suggested Swaram Creek Ridge, with “Swaram” meaning torchlight fishing originating from the Methow tribe.

Other landmarks are being renamed in Jefferson, Kittitas and Thurston counties. The proposals from tribes came in the wake of the U.S. Department of the Interior's orders in November 2021 to rename geographic features throughout the country that have derogatory names.

Now, the new names go to the state Board of Natural Resources, acting as the Washington State Board on Geographic Names for approval, from there, they get passed along to the United States Board on Geographic Names for federal review.