Momentum is building to properly name a prominent landmark on a mountain in the Alberta Rockies, shown near Canmore, Alta., on Thursday, Sept.3, 2020, because its commonly used nickname is racist and misogynistic. The feature, which has been known since the 1920s as Squaw’s Tit, is located near the summit on Mount Charles Stewart and can be seen from the mountain town of Canmore. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Momentum is building to properly name a prominent landmark on a mountain in the Alberta Rockies, shown near Canmore, Alta., on Thursday, Sept.3, 2020, because its commonly used nickname is racist and misogynistic. The feature, which has been known since the 1920s as Squaw’s Tit, is located near the summit on Mount Charles Stewart and can be seen from the mountain town of Canmore. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Lawyers hope to erase racist and misogynistic nickname of Alberta mountain landmark

There have been two attempts to officially name the landmark, but both have been rejected

Momentum is building to properly name a prominent landmark on a mountain in the Alberta Rockies because its commonly used nickname is racist and misogynistic.

The feature, which has been known since the 1920s as Squaw’s Tit, is located near the summit on Mount Charles Stewart and can be seen from the mountain town of Canmore.

Canmore lawyer Jude Daniels has been working since 2014 to find a formal name for the landmark. Natasha Egan, also a lawyer, joined her this spring.

“(We) are just disgusted by the name,” Egan said in an interview from Calgary. “Colloquially, people call it The Tit.

“So the racism was dropped, but the misogyny remains.”

The word “squaw” came from the Algonquin language and once simply meant woman, but the word has become a term to disparage Indigenous women.

Egan said she and Daniels, who is Metis and works with Aboriginal communities, have been speaking to the province and the Stoney Nakoda Nation to come up with a traditional Indigenous name.

They would like to propose a name that honours missing and murdered Indigenous women, she said.

There have been two recent attempts to officially name the landmark, but the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation board rejected both.

Ron Kelland, a historical places research officer and geographical program co-ordinator with Alberta Culture, said the first suggestion used the second half of the current name.

“For obvious reasons, the board did not find that acceptable,” he said.

Another proposal suggested the spot be called Mother’s Mountain, but Kelland said that was also rejected because the board wanted to pursue a traditional or Indigenous name.

“We have been engaging with the Indigenous communities of Treaty 7,” he said. “Some of the communities were actively engaged and talking to their elders and then the whole COVID thing happened.”

No one from Stoney Nakoda could be reached for comment.

The derogatory nickname is used in several hiking and climbing guides, on Google maps and on many trail websites — although Egan said it’s been changed on some. She and Daniels have been waiting for a new name before addressing the issue with Google.

In an email, Google said any local authority can request a name change or removal.

The two women have recently received support from the Town of Canmore.

“The name which is commonly used … has certainly been the name that people have used since I moved to Canmore in the mid-70s,” Mayor John Borrowman said at a recent council meeting. “It’s clear and evident that the name is both racist and misogynistic.”

Several other council members spoke in favour of giving the landmark an official name.

“I have two daughters and it has come to their attention as children what the name of that little nub is on that little mountain,” said Coun. Joanna McCallum. “It was a sad, disgusting and horrific day when I had to explain to them what it is known as and that there is no other name for it.”

Borrowman added he finds it surprising the name has never been addressed.

“If the Stoneys have no traditional name or no historical connection to that peak, it still needs to have a new name brought to it,” he said.

Egan hopes to get similar endorsement from the Municipal District of Bighorn, where the mountain is located.

Reeve Dene Cooper said he recently met with Daniels and expects to have a discussion with the district’s council in coming weeks.

“It needs a formal name selected on the basis that all other names are selected,” Cooper said in an interview. ”We value our relationship with our First Nation neighbours and we believe respect is an action word.”

Egan said the push for an official name has taken on an even stronger meaning with ongoing protests over Black and Indigenous rights across the United States and Canada.

“There’s been an awakening in our country and south of us,” she said. “We have a real opportunity.

“It may be symbolic … but it’s important. Words hurt. Words matter.”

Kelland said there’s a coulee in the south that was renamed Women’s Coulee a few years ago. There’s also a mountain in Banff National Park named Stoney Squaw Mountain, which is being considered for a name change.

In the United States, California’s popular Squaw Valley Ski Resort announced last month that it will change its name because the word is derogatory. The site was the location of the 1960 Winter Olympics.

— With files from The Associated Press

Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press

Indigenousracism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

birds
It’s almost time for the 121st Audubon Christmas Bird Count!

This year’s counts will take place between Monday, Dec. 14th through Tuesday, Jan. 5th, 2021

Alberta had 1,571 active COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta’s central zone now has 1,101 active COVID-19 cases

Provincial death toll has risen by nine

(Photo submitted)
Bentley couple celebrates 60th anniversary

They still laugh, hold hands, play crib and fish says daughter

tree
Moonlight Madness gatherings may be cancelled but it’s business as usual for local businesses

Local businesses continue to offer specials and late night shopping on Moonlight Madness

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta reports 1,731 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday

The province’s central zone has 992 active cases

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

In this undated photo issued by the University of Oxford, a volunteer is administered the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday Nov. 23, 2020, that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
Moderna chairman says Canada near head of line for 20 million vaccine doses

Trudeau created a firestorm when he said Canadians will have to wait a bit to get vaccinated

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre speaks during a news conference Monday, Nov. 16, 2020 in Ottawa. Poilievre says building up the Canadian economy post-pandemic can't be achieved without a massive overhaul of the tax system and regulatory regime. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Conservatives attack Trudeau’s ‘reset’ but they have ideas for their own

‘We don’t need subsidized corporate welfare schemes that rely on endless bailouts from the taxpayer’

There were 47 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta Tuesday. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
Spread of COVID-19 in Brampton, Ont., linked to systemic factors, experts say

‘We’re tired. We’re numb. We’re overworked. We’re frustrated, because it’s not our rules’

A couple embrace during a ceremony to mark the end of a makeshift memorial for victims of the Toronto van attack, at Yonge St. and Finch Ave. in Toronto on Sunday, June 3, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
‘I’ve been spared a lot,’ van attack survivor says as she watches trial alone

Court has set up a private room for victims and families of those killed in the Toronto van attack

A person enters a building as snow falls in Ottawa, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. Ottawa has been successful in limiting the spread of COVID-19 during its second wave thanks to the city’s residents who have been wearing masks and staying home, said Ottawa’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
People to thank for Ottawa’s success with curbing COVID-19: health officer

The city’s chief medical officer said much of the credit goes to the people who live in Ottawa

Most Read