Saturday, October 16, 2021

The Colorado Mountains were renamed Mount Mesta’hehe, replacing a ghoul

A mountain in Clear Creek County is one step closer to a new name after the Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board voted unanimously on Thursday for the change.

The current Squaw Mountain may soon become Mesta’hehe Mountain (pronounced mes-ta-hee) in honor of an important translator in times of unrest. Mestaa’ėhehe, or Owl Woman, was an influential member of the Cheyenne tribe in the early 1800s, which bridged the divide between indigenous tribes and new settlers in Colorado before military-ordered massacres and expulsions.

According to Merriam Webster, squaw is an offensive word meaning an indigenous woman of North America.

Reviewing the name change, the mountain was referred to in debate as the “S-Mountain”. Within Colorado alone, there are 36 features, both natural and man-made, that contain the word “squaw,” the naming advisory board meeting packet stated.

Governor Jared Polis established the board, which includes a dozen people from across the political and cultural scene, from state lawmakers to historians.

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