Forum Index > Pacific NW History > Renaming Coon Lake Howard
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Snowbrushy
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PostMon Oct 05, 2015 2:36 pm 
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I had lunch today at a place where an Aleut Native American woman I know works. She is from the Dutch Harbor, Alaska area. I briefly spoke with her about the word, 'squaw' and I asked her her take on the word. She said that squaw means: whore.

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Bernardo
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PostMon Oct 05, 2015 8:23 pm 
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According to Merriam Webster the word squaw comes from the Massachusett tribe, the first English use was 1634, and it meant woman in their language.  In some languages the word for wife and woman are the same, for example German.  I doubt the word is native to Aleut Native Americans, but that doesn't mean it should be used today.  Times change.
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Snowbrushy
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PostMon Oct 05, 2015 10:30 pm 
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Bernardo wrote:
  I doubt the word is native to Aleut Native Americans

Right. It's an English word. I have a take on the, "whore" connection to the word. Kids under 13Y/O go to bed, now!

The English sailors and the American and Canadian mountain men used booze to take sexual advantage of the Native American girls. It's the modern day Bill Cosby effect - get them drunk or high and have sex with them. Fire Water.
And the word squaw slowly became a foul word for permissiveness, or "whore."  Squaw.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_White_Dawn

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Leafguy
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PostTue Oct 06, 2015 6:49 pm 
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Snowbrushy wrote:
It's the modern day Bill Cosby effect

lol.gif  lol.gif  lol.gif  lol.gif  lol.gif  lol.gif  lol.gif
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Dalekz
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PostFri Oct 23, 2015 3:26 pm 
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Looks like the Park Service changed their minds and will change the name.
http://crosscut.com/2015/10/park-service-comes-around-racist-name-must-go/
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Pyrites
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PostFri Oct 23, 2015 6:52 pm 
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Good.
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NacMacFeegle
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PostTue Nov 17, 2015 11:11 pm 
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I didn't know the name meant anything racist before I read about it in the paper a few weeks ago. Frankly, I doubt most people would associate "coon" with anything other than the common abbreviation of Racoon!

I also don't agree with the idea of renaming things just because they offend modern sensibilities. The idea of trying to erase the bits of history that make us feel uncomfortable is disgusting to me.

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RandyHiker
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PostWed Nov 18, 2015 7:31 am 
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NacMacFeegle wrote:
The idea of trying to erase the bits of history that make us feel uncomfortable is disgusting to me.

In this case the name is being changed from a slur for people of African descent to the name of the man of African descent that used to have a mining claim near the lake.   It seems to me that this change illuminates the history of the area, rather than erasing it.

Names do have power -- that power can be be used for good or not.

The old name may have been assumed to be short for "raccoon" by some, but I think the folks to whom that slur might be applied would know different and the lake's name would send them a different message than the name remembering the man.

Yeah sure it is a pain to have deal with people that aren't exactly like yourself.  "political correctness" is a term coined by reactionaries who feel like it is too much work dealing with people with different points of view.   They want to spout their ideas and not have deal anyone disagreeing with them or being offended by their words or ideas.
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Quark
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PostWed Nov 18, 2015 11:35 am 
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NacMacFeegle wrote:
Frankly, I doubt most people would associate "coon" with anything other than the common abbreviation of Racoon!


I'm surprised to see this comment, but I suppose that's good, because it means not as many people have grown up with it in their communities in the last couple of decades. In the past, it was used a lot.

Yyes, it is hurtful to hear it and see it, knowing that's what it is about.

It's not "modern sensibilities" at stake. Racial slurs have always hurt black people, and always will.

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Schenk
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PostWed Nov 18, 2015 12:41 pm 
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RandyHiker wrote:
"political correctness" is a term coined by reactionaries who feel like it is too much work dealing with people with different points of view. 

I feel the sword cuts both ways.
For every person who is sick and tired of "political correctness" there is another person looking for some reason to be "offended and outraged" by someone's choice of words or opinion.

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mike
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PostWed Nov 18, 2015 1:48 pm 
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There is no excuse for racial slurs or any other type be it homophobic, misanthropic or whatever. It isn't an "opinion". You have opinions about what color to paint the bathroom.
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NacMacFeegle
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PostWed Nov 18, 2015 2:54 pm 
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Is it a really sure thing that it was actually intended as a racial slur and not as an abbreviation of racoon? Even if there are no racoons there it looks like the sort of place they'd live! Also, so many normally inoffensive words are used as slang that's difficult to find any that haven't been used in a nasty way!

I think the key is in how a word is used, if it is obviously employed in a disparaging way then it is bad, but if there is no insult involved and the word lacks any obvious context that might imply offensive intent, then I see no reason to assume that it was meant as a slur. In the case of coon lake, the offensive intent is largely conjecture made due to questionable historical data dug up by people out to prove that the name was offensive. It could just as easily mean nothing more than that whoever named it thought racoons might live in the area. Maybe from the right angle on a nearby mountain the lake might resemble a racoon!

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mike
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PostWed Nov 18, 2015 3:22 pm 
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show me a "coon" anything that was named after a raccoon.
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Jake Neiffer
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PostWed Nov 18, 2015 3:26 pm 
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Coonhound?

i do agree with renaming the lake regardless
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RandyHiker
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PostWed Nov 18, 2015 3:27 pm 
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NacMacFeegle wrote:
Is it a really sure thing that it was actually intended as a racial slur

Yes.  There are no raccoons living in that area.  I've seen the discussions on this particular subject.  The slur was applied as Mr Howard's mining claim was near the lake.   

There is creek in the Teanaway that had a similarly offensive (but different) slur name. The USGS replaced that slur with a slightly less insulting name decades ago, IMO it should get renamed again to the name of the miners that once worked claims.


On the burden of refraining from using such terms, get over it.   How many times did your dad need to wash your mouth with soap to get you to stop using curse words in polite conversation?

Or do you think you should be able to call someone a m$&%35r and not get some blow back?
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Forum Index > Pacific NW History > Renaming Coon Lake Howard
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