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Canandaigua considered renaming ‘Squaw Island’

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CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. (WROC) — Should Squaw Island in Canandaigua Lake be renamed?

That’s what the Canandaigua Town Board talked about during its meeting on Monday evening. Some residents said it should be changed, arguing it is an offensive slur for Native American women. Others said the name is linked to tradition and history and shouldn’t be changed.

The scheduled vote on the resolution was tabled indefinitely after concerns over the resolution’s wording.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said in a statement Wednesday:

“The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) fully supports the proposal to rename “Squaw Island,” a DEC managed Wildlife Management Area, as it has been deemed derogatory and offensive by the Seneca Nation. As we’ve seen nationwide in recent months, many old and outdated names that are offensive have been dropped or changed, and this should be no different. DEC supports the resolution from the Canandaigua City Council for the renaming and urges the Canandaigua town board to pass the resolution. From here, the town could move forward with renaming the Island by reaching out to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), which DEC encourages it to do.”

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