squaw hill

Courtesy photo/realtor.com

A piece of land along Squaw Hill Road in Tehama County in an area once designated as Squaw Hill east of Corning near Woodson Bridge. Squaw Hill has been renamed Loybas Hill as the term “squaw” was deemed derogatory by the federal government.

Squaw Hill, an area east of Corning by Woodson Bridge and the Sacramento River, has been known by that name for more than a hundred years – however, the name “squaw” has been declared derogatory in nature by the federal government and the historical site has been renamed Loybas Hill, a name proposed by the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians – owner of Rolling Hills Casino in Corning.

According to an article written by Marguerite Dietz in 1985, “Squaw Hill itself is at the west end of the Woodson Bridge. This was the choice for the Chris Gardiner Ferry which was the first ferry to be permanent.

“Squaw Hill was named in the early days of the steamers. Two Indian ladies too feeble to return to the mountains in the spring with the rest of the tribe were left in a small shack at their camping site. They enjoyed watching the river boats and the river captains named the spot Squaw Hill.”

On Jan. 11 the Board on Geographic Names voted to approve the Hill’s new name, along with six other sites around the county. The Board is an entity under the Department of the Interior responsible for maintaining uniformity among place names nationwide.

Loybas Hill, according to the Paskenta Band, translates to “young lady” and “honors the past, present and future Native women from and living in the area.”

The name change was one of seven locations the Department of Interior announced for consideration in unincorporated populated places.

“Words matter, particularly in our work to ensure our nation’s public lands and waters are accessible and welcoming to people of all backgrounds,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “I am grateful to the members of the Derogatory Geographic Names Task Force and the Board on Geographic Names for their efforts to finalize the removal of this harmful word. Together, we are showing why representation matters and charting a path for an inclusive America.”

The Board’s vote came after a year-long process to remove a term from federal use that has historically been used as an offensive ethnic, racial and sexist slur, particularly for Indigenous women.

Noting that there are unique concerns with renaming populated locations, the Board sought additional review and comments from Tribes, local communities and stakeholders before the final vote.

In addition to Squaw Hill, the seven places for additional review included the following per the Department of Interior:

• Sq___ Harbor, Alaska: Removed from consideration. Feature is a historical area that no longer serves as an unincorporated community.

• Sq___ Hill, Calif.: Name changed to Loybas Hill. Proposed by the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians, the name translates to “Young Lady” and honors the past, present and future Native women from and living in the area.

• Sq___ Valley, Calif.: Name changed to Yokuts Valley, which was proposed during the public comment period. Yokuts translates to “people.”

• Sq___ Gap, N.D.: Name changed to Homesteaders Gap, which was selected by the community in the populated area as relevant to their local history.

• Sq___berry, Tenn.: Name changed to Partridgeberry, another common name for the plant for which the community is currently named.

• Sq___ Mountain, Texas: Name changed to Lynn Creek in honor of Isaac Lynn, who lived on the creek nearby that bears his name.

• Sq___ Place, Wyo.: Removed from consideration. Feature is a locale now listed as privately owned land.

The list of all new names will be updated on the U.S. Geological Survey website to reflect the Board’s vote along with a map of locations.

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