Squaw Peak renamed, but maps may not change
Not everyone is happy to hear that Squaw Peak in Phoenix will be renamed Piestewa Peak, in honor of the first Native American woman killed in combat.
Army Pfc. Lori Piestewa, a Hopi Indian from Tuba City, Ariz., was killed last month in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The State Board on Geographic and Historic Names voted 5-to-1 late Thursday afternoon to waive the requirement that a person be dead for five years, before anything in the state can be renamed in their honor.
A Phoenix map maker said he will not change the name on new maps that he makes of the area.
"We are not going to jump into making changes that could be overturned," said James Willinger, president of Wide World of Maps.
Willinger said the five-year waiting period was established for a very good reason -- to allow public sentiment to cool off following someone's death, to ensure renaming something in their honor is indeed what they ultimately want to do.
Willinger pointed out that immediately following the death of former Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater there was a movement to rename Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in his honor, but the five-year rule prevented that and it no longer remains a public issue.
To some, the word squaw is a derogatory term used against women. That has sparked interest in renaming Squaw Peak by several Indian and non-Indian groups.
"There are 22 summits or mountains, 16 water features and 10 other geographic points on the Arizona map that bear the name "Squaw," said Willinger. "Most of them are in Native American-owned areas of the state."
Willinger said it is appropriate to recognize Piestewa and honor her memory, "but isn't it more appropriate to honor her in the area of the state that she called home, rather than several hundred miles away?"
The renaming recommendation now goes to a national board for federal maps and records for approval. In addition to recommending Squaw Peak be renamed for Piestewa, the state board also recommended renaming the Squaw Peak Parkway in her honor. The Arizona Department of Transportation Board will decide that issue next month.
For more information about Wide World of Maps, go to its Web site at www.maps4u.com.