BLM moves to strike slur for Indigenous women from place names

By Scott Streater | 04/16/2024 04:33 PM EDT

Internal memos sent out to Bureau of Land Management field offices say the offensive word must be replaced by Sept. 30 from all bureau signs and public materials.

Bureau of Land Management sign.

The Bureau of Land Management has laid out a process for removing an offensive word for Native American women from place names used by the agency. Francis Chung/POLITICO

The Bureau of Land Management is advancing plans to eliminate a derogatory term for Native American women from all bureau websites, public signs and documents.

BLM last week issued two internal guidance documents to its field offices instructing them to ensure that the word is removed from all bureau signs and public materials, as well as materials used by contractors, by Sept. 30.

In doing so, the bureau also highlighted how frequently the offensive term, now referred to as “sq___” by the Interior Department, has been used by the agency over the years to name everything from wilderness study areas and special recreation management areas, to livestock grazing allotments.


BLM is eliminating the derogatory term to comply with a secretarial order from Interior Secretary Deb Haaland in 2021.