Momentum is building to properly name a prominent landmark on a mountain in the Alberta Rockies, shown near Canmore, Alta., on Thursday, Sept.3, 2020, because its commonly used nickname is racist and misogynistic. The feature, which has been known since the 1920s as Squaw’s Tit, is located near the summit on Mount Charles Stewart and can be seen from the mountain town of Canmore. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Momentum is building to properly name a prominent landmark on a mountain in the Alberta Rockies, shown near Canmore, Alta., on Thursday, Sept.3, 2020, because its commonly used nickname is racist and misogynistic. The feature, which has been known since the 1920s as Squaw’s Tit, is located near the summit on Mount Charles Stewart and can be seen from the mountain town of Canmore. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Lawyers hope to erase racist and misogynistic nickname of Alberta mountain landmark

There have been two attempts to officially name the landmark, but both have been rejected

Momentum is building to properly name a prominent landmark on a mountain in the Alberta Rockies because its commonly used nickname is racist and misogynistic.

The feature, which has been known since the 1920s as Squaw’s Tit, is located near the summit on Mount Charles Stewart and can be seen from the mountain town of Canmore.

Canmore lawyer Jude Daniels has been working since 2014 to find a formal name for the landmark. Natasha Egan, also a lawyer, joined her this spring.

“(We) are just disgusted by the name,” Egan said in an interview from Calgary. “Colloquially, people call it The Tit.

“So the racism was dropped, but the misogyny remains.”

The word “squaw” came from the Algonquin language and once simply meant woman, but the word has become a term to disparage Indigenous women.

Egan said she and Daniels, who is Metis and works with Aboriginal communities, have been speaking to the province and the Stoney Nakoda Nation to come up with a traditional Indigenous name.

They would like to propose a name that honours missing and murdered Indigenous women, she said.

There have been two recent attempts to officially name the landmark, but the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation board rejected both.

Ron Kelland, a historical places research officer and geographical program co-ordinator with Alberta Culture, said the first suggestion used the second half of the current name.

“For obvious reasons, the board did not find that acceptable,” he said.

Another proposal suggested the spot be called Mother’s Mountain, but Kelland said that was also rejected because the board wanted to pursue a traditional or Indigenous name.

“We have been engaging with the Indigenous communities of Treaty 7,” he said. “Some of the communities were actively engaged and talking to their elders and then the whole COVID thing happened.”

No one from Stoney Nakoda could be reached for comment.

The derogatory nickname is used in several hiking and climbing guides, on Google maps and on many trail websites — although Egan said it’s been changed on some. She and Daniels have been waiting for a new name before addressing the issue with Google.

In an email, Google said any local authority can request a name change or removal.

The two women have recently received support from the Town of Canmore.

“The name which is commonly used … has certainly been the name that people have used since I moved to Canmore in the mid-70s,” Mayor John Borrowman said at a recent council meeting. “It’s clear and evident that the name is both racist and misogynistic.”

ALSO READ: Sites to be commemorated: Residential schools recognized as ‘historic event’

Several other council members spoke in favour of giving the landmark an official name.

“I have two daughters and it has come to their attention as children what the name of that little nub is on that little mountain,” said Coun. Joanna McCallum. “It was a sad, disgusting and horrific day when I had to explain to them what it is known as and that there is no other name for it.”

Borrowman added he finds it surprising the name has never been addressed.

“If the Stoneys have no traditional name or no historical connection to that peak, it still needs to have a new name brought to it,” he said.

Egan hopes to get similar endorsement from the Municipal District of Bighorn, where the mountain is located.

Reeve Dene Cooper said he recently met with Daniels and expects to have a discussion with the district’s council in coming weeks.

“It needs a formal name selected on the basis that all other names are selected,” Cooper said in an interview. ”We value our relationship with our First Nation neighbours and we believe respect is an action word.”

Egan said the push for an official name has taken on an even stronger meaning with ongoing protests over Black and Indigenous rights across the United States and Canada.

“There’s been an awakening in our country and south of us,” she said. “We have a real opportunity.

“It may be symbolic … but it’s important. Words hurt. Words matter.”

Kelland said there’s a coulee in the south that was renamed Women’s Coulee a few years ago. There’s also a mountain in Banff National Park named Stoney Squaw Mountain, which is being considered for a name change.

In the United States, California’s popular Squaw Valley Ski Resort announced last month that it will change its name because the word is derogatory. The site was the location of the 1960 Winter Olympics.

— With files from The Associated Press

Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Indigenousracism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Calls for potential overdoses in B.C. spiked in 2020, especially in the Okanagan - Shuswap. Pictured above is a BCEHS re-enactment of paramedics attending an overdose. (BCHES photo)
UBCO program increases drug checking availability in Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon

January 2021 data shows of 95 opioid samples tested across Interior Health, 93 contained fentanyl

Person experiencing homelessness. (Black Press Media file photo)
Program preventing youth homelessness launches in Kelowna

Upstream Project’s goal is to help young people become more resilient

Youth from Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton and the Kootenays were able to dig into two evenings of online learning and connection through United Way Southern Interior B.C.’s <CODE>anagan program. (Submitted)<code> </code>
CODEanagan gives youth a chance to learn about technology

The youth, aged 12 to 21, built their own WordPress sites and developed blogging ideas

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia’s (CFSEU-BC) Uniform Gang Enforcement Team (UGET) has arrested a man who was on the run for nearly a decade. (File photo)
9-year search for international drug trafficking suspect ends with arrest at YVR

Khamla Wong, charged in 2012, taken into custody Feb. 24 by BC-CFSEU

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Larch Place is the first building to be built in the BC Housing, Canadian Mental Health Association housing project at the corner of Third Street SW and Fifth Avenue SW. This view is from the Shuswap Street side where it sits behind the Graystone East building. (File photo)
Opening of doors at new housing development in Salmon Arm welcomed

BC Housing announces opening of 32 rental units, with 35 more expected in summer 2021

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)
New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, before she knew she would change literature. Photo Wikipedia
And Then There Were None

What book knocked your booties off when you were young?

Most Read