PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland declared the word “squaw” a derogatory term in November and her department is now taking the next steps to change the names of hundreds of geographic features that include the word in their names.

Dozens of these geographic sites are located in Oregon and Washington. 

Secretarial Order 3404 formally identifies the term “squaw” as derogatory and, according to a list from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Board on Geographic names, there are 18 locations in Washington, 54 locations in Oregon, and two locations in both Oregon and Idaho that include the term in their name. 

The Department of the Interior released a list on Tuesday of candidate replacement names for all 664 sites across the U.S. 

“Words matter, particularly in our work to make our nation’s public lands and waters accessible and welcoming to people of all backgrounds. Consideration of these replacements is a big step forward in our efforts to remove derogatory terms whose expiration dates are long overdue,” Haaland said. 

Each geographic feature has five candidate name replacement options.

The Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force will recommend replacements for the features to the Board on Geographic Names in the coming months. 

The Department of the Interior has also initiated Tribal consultations and an opportunity for public comment to recommend and review the proposed replacement names. 

The agency is planning three virtual meetings to consult with tribes in March, and written comments will be accepted through April 24.

Experts have said the word “squaw,” derived from the Algonquin language, may have once simply meant “woman. Over time, it became a term “used as an offensive ethnic, racial, and sexist slur, particularly for Indigenous women,” federal officials explained. 

Recommended replacements for Squaw Lake in Deschutes County, Oregon include Baldwin Waterhole, Nershal Well, Braken Flat, Sunflower Flat, and Soldiers Cap. 

Some geographic locations already have name proposals that have been submitted to the Board on Geographic Names. These names are listed in a pending column and many include Native American words. 

For example, Squaw Creek in Grant County and Harney County in Oregon has the proposed name of Ka Kwi-Tuhu-u Creek. 

You can see the full list of recommended replacements for every feature in the U.S. here.

Click here to see the features in Oregon and Washington that are on the list for name changes.

Both the Secretary of the Interior and the Board on Geographic Names have previously nixed other derogatory terms. In the 1960s and 70s, derogatory terms related to Black and Japanese people were eliminated.

Nexstar Media Wire and The Associated Press contributed to this report.