Food For Thought ... Squaw Point Road   2007

Place names can frequently be racist...oftentimes the residents do not realize that multiple meanings exist.

I am dealing with this right now in my home state of Maine.

The Penobscot Indians have asked our little town of 1200 people to please change the names of Squaw Point and Squaw Point Road.

There was a fair amount of resistance. In this town, the governance is done by town meeting. We have three selectmen (one is a woman…that tells you how progressive we are : / !). Everyone assembled. Tempers were hot. The folks on the road mentioned were not going to change way...the dialogue wasn't going anywhere productive.

I read newspapers articles. The papers indicated it was state law. There really was no room for discussion. So…an alternative name? The people on the road proposed Squa Point Road. I listened to my neighbors discuss it. This was clearly not addressing the offensive aspect of the original Squaw. People in the town were embarrassed for their neighbors. It made state and national news.

My previous research revealed that although the word originally came from Algonquian, currently it is equal to the word c--t. Please check your toxic word list for expanded definitions of both words.

Perhaps they should rename their road “C--t Point Road”. What’s in a name anyway?

I DO apologize if this bit of instruction was difficult for any of you to read. I needed to make the point that we, as the dominant culture, often DO NOT KNOW what the big deal is because we do not understand the origins nor the cultural evolution of the terminology!

Again, you must be scientists, data collectors, and make sure you understand WHY people are offended.

Consider your ethnic origins. Identify, or find, offensive slang connected with this ethnic origin. Google for place names and post your list on the discussion board by the end of the week.

 Update: 2008. 

The controversy rages on.  The residents of "Defense Point Road" have filed a lawsuit against the Stockton Springs selectmen.They want to  name their road, point and island Squapoint Road.

Update 2009:

The residents have lost their suit and taken it to the Maine supreme court. They have removed the Defense Point Road signage and one of them has been jailed.

 June 2009. The Penobscot Nation has pushed a new bill through the legislature. " The Offensive Place Name"  bill will inlcude any variation of spelling of previous offensive place name.

The leader of the Squaw Point Association ran for first selectman and lost by a narrow margin. 

October  2009 The representative from The Penobscot Nation, a 37 year old woman, died from mysterious circumstances.

The Supreme Court denied The Squaw Point Road Association's petition to retain their road's name. Although Mainers are very adverse to being told what to do with their land, people in the town are starting to shun them.

  Maine Tribes received a big land award 20 years ago and many still remember land being lost. There are no Indian Casinos here in Maine but there are proposals every year in the legislature.  I am fighting it like a tiger.

Update 2011  The wife  of the leader of the Squaw Point Association ( they never changed their name) is running for Second Selectman ( like the assistant mayor).  There is a  public debate and I will attend. She won!  There was a clean sweep from the conservatives. It will be interesting to see if  the name of the road is changed back to Squaw Point Road.


Affirmative action HAS caused a backlash because people who appear undeserved are winning appointments, money, free school etc.  People who are NOT living considered lives or contributing to their own upkeep seem to be having everything given to them.  How can we move ahead from all these stereotypes?

Trust me on this...Respect is what they want.
not handouts.


Dustin Sluzewicz  

USC professor David Treuer (Anton’s Brother), an acclaimed novelist who writes Native American-themed literature himself saw this bread in the bakery aisle of the local supermarket he shops at. David sent an email to Old Town Baking Company officials on Feb. 8 informing them of the offensive nature of the word and a photo to his brother Anton (our guest speaker). Anton, a then created a Facebook page calling on Old Town Baking Company to change the name of the bread.  A debate soon erupted on the Old Town Baking Company Facebook page over the term. The commentary included Anton posting a message that said, "We can't demand respect with disrespect." "Maybe some people hear `woman' when someone says `squaw,' but a significant number of Native people hear a horribly offensive and derogatory word that offends them the way that the `N' word offends many black people." Anton and David Treuer both said they did not believe the Bishops had a malicious intent

"Squaw Bread" Facebook here

"Cultural appropriation is the act of taking artifacts from other cultures and adopting them without understanding or respect for the source culture that they come from. When adoption of cultural artifacts happens without understanding, respect, and humility it is an insult to the source culture. No matter what the intent. Those whose identities are privileged by mainstream culture should shed the sense of entitlement to use and adopt the culture of others, should listen when told that their adoptions lack understanding and respect, and should willingly correct their mistakes if they want to show respect.”

FYI: You do not need Facebook to read any posts or visit links.