Canyon in Whitman County renamed avoid further offense to Indians

Olympia, Washington (AP) 10-07

It’s still Squaw Creek, a name that offends Indians, but a stretch through which it flows south of Spokane has been renamed Awtskin Canyon.

The name change for the canyon in northern Whitman County was one of several approved recently by the Washington State Board on Geographic names.

Spokane County commissioners say they also favored a name change for the creek, which originates in Spokane County. However, in a meeting last month, they couldn’t decide between Awtskin and Jack Pine Creek, the name preferred by residents along the stream.

“Awtskin” means “to look out for.” The creek was the western boundary of the aboriginal Coeur d’Alene Indian territory.

“Squaw” refers an Indian woman in English but is a derogatory term to many Indians.