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Squaw Creek name change considered after complaints 7-07

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - Linn County conservation officials will consider whether to change the name of Squaw Creek and Squaw Creek Park after receiving a complaint from someone who was offended by the use of the word "squaw."

Craig Van Berkum, an American Indian from Las Vegas, wrote a letter to county officials a few weeks ago saying he was attending a family function at the park and was surprised to see that it was at a place called Squaw Creek Park, said Dennis Goemaat, deputy county conservation director.

He said Van Berkum, who once lived in Pella, said he found the name offensive.

Goemaat said his office receives about one complaint a year about the name of the park and creek.

The county conservation board will consider changing the name at a meeting on Monday, he said.

"We want the board to be aware of the recent letter and get some sense of how to approach it," Goemaat said. "From the standpoint that parks should be inviting to everybody, we are serious about it."

In English, the word squaw means an American Indian woman, but in various American Indian languages the word is a derogatory term relating to women.
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