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Rename Squaw Peak to honor soldier from Tuba City

Grief is a raw and penetrating emotion that should not be politicized. But sometimes rare clarity comes out of the pain. And sometimes unexpected healing can emerge from the tears. The state of Arizona can use this tragedy to end an enduring controversy and honor a woman whose life was dedicated to service. It can rename Squaw Peak as Piestewa Peak. It can end the long-running concern by some Native American activists that the word "squaw" is demeaning and insulting to the first Americans.
Apr. 8, 2003 12:00 AM

Grief is a raw and penetrating emotion that should not be

But sometimes rare clarity comes out of the pain. And sometimes
unexpected healing can emerge from the tears.

The brave death of Pfc. Lori Piestewa can be one of those times.

In the rural Arizona town where Piestewa went to high school, those
who knew
her spelled out her name with white stones atop a 200-foot mesa just
town. Flags flew at half-staff in the community where she once led the Tuba City High School Junior Marine ROTC. Friends brought food to her family.

These demonstrations of grief for a Hopi woman who lived on the Navajo Reservation mark the sacrifice of a single mother who is believed to be the first Native American woman killed in combat while fighting for the U.S. military.

These are touching, fitting and natural outpourings of the pain the death of a loved one inflicts on the living.

Next month, Piestewa will be honored by the country she died for in ceremonies in Washington.

That, too, is appropriate. The nation owes more than it can repay to those willing to die in its name.

Arizona can do something, too.

The state can use this tragedy to end an enduring controversy and honor a woman whose life was dedicated to service.

It can rename Squaw Peak as Piestewa Peak. It can end the long-running concern by some Native American activists that the word "squaw" is demeaning
and insulting to the first Americans.

Some will say this is politically correct pap.

They are wrong. This can be a fitting way to honor one of Arizona's war dead
and heal an old wound
BU**SH** 15.Apr.2003 11:30

Crazy Horse

This is the most asinine, insulting suggestions I ever heard. Honoring one of the murderers of the Iraqi people? After millions of Native Americans were slaughtered by European settlers and the American Army in the largest and longest illegal occupation of stolen lands ever, you suggest honoring someone who has become part of the same occupying army, on yet another conquest for resources. It is truly insulting to all Native Americans who know their history of oppression under the armies of capitalism. Becoming your oppressor does not make one a hero, it's simply a sad sign that you've been conquered and coopted for good.

Rename the peak for a Native American conscientious objector instead.

A Native American History Lesson for Iraqis 15.Apr.2003 11:35

Lakota Sioux

(Formed March 20, 2003)

Dear People of Iraq,

Now that you have been liberated from your oppressors, we at the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) look forward to our future relationship with you. As one of the oldest of American governmental agencies, we have a good deal of experience in assimilating people of other cultures to the American way of life. . . Meanwhile, below you will find a list of what to expect from the Office of the BIA, based on our vast experience managing the affairs of American Indians:

1. Henceforth, English will be the spoken language of all government and associated offices. If you do not speak English, a translator fluent in German will be provided.

2. All Iraqi people will apply to be entered on a citizen (tribal) roll. Citizenship will be open to those people who can prove that they are Iraqi back four generations with documents issued by the United States. Christian church records may also be given in support of proof of your origins.

3. All hospitals designated to serve you will be issued a standard "medical kit." The kit will contain gauze, band-aids, burn cream, iodine, tweezers, and duct tape.

4. Your oil is to be held in trust for you. We will appoint an American-approved government lawyer who has a background in the oil industry to represent your interests. Never mind that he may also work for an energy company that he will eventually cut a deal with. However, not to fear - this close relationship will guarantee you more money for your oil.

5. Each Iraqi citizen will be allotted one hundred acres of prime Iraqi desert. You will be issued a plow, a hoe, seed corn and the King James version of the Christian Bible. Following the distribution of land, any land left over will be open to settlement by Israelis.

6. Each citizen is entitled to draw a ration of milk, sugar, flour and lard. If, for health or religious reasons, you feel cannot use the rations, you may file a complaint with your BIA appointed liaison, General Foods Corporation. Those Iraqis showing signs of diabetes, heart disease, or glaucoma will be issued double rations, as, (we are sure you will agree), our own medical system will be too alien for your use.

7. We will manage your trust monies, stipulating that any five year-old American citizen, demonstrating minimal computer skills, may hack into the system that controls your accounts, and set up their own account. Records of your accounts will be kept, but you must receive express written permission from the head of the BIA in order to examine them

8. In keeping with the separation of church and state supported by the US Constitution, Christian missionaries will be sponsored through government funding to provide your local educational and social services. Of course, only Iraqis who convert to Christianity will be allowed to hold jobs within the government.

9. For the purposes of future treaty making, any single Iraqi will be found competent to sign land-session treaties on behalf of all other Iraqis.

10. Welcome to the Free World and have a nice day!

[From Dr. George Wasson, a Coquille/Coos Indian]

re-name the peak 15.Apr.2003 14:38

Brian Thomas

all of us trapped in the chain of being take as well as give.

I know that sounds a little corny, but this condemnation of all our soldiers trapped into invading Iraq by an unelected White House resident is terribly mean-spirited.

Life offers us all difficult choices. Purity is not an option. I grieve for this soldier -- for the situation she was placed in and for her death.

She Died for Oil, not for Amerika 15.Apr.2003 15:00

Sitting Bull

She died for oil, an unelected pResident, and a corrupt plutocracy. If she had true courage, she could have refused to murder for the commander and election thief. She's no hero, just another duped citizen. Death does not instantly elevate a murderer to a saint, and does not make an unrighteous act "heroic."

Yes, death for the empire is a sad occasion for both sides, but making her a heroine in a war of aggression makes as much sense as lauding the 9-11 hijackers, simply because they died for their beliefs.

Phoenix must pay! 16.Apr.2003 09:46

Zonie in exile

I'm for anything that makes the City of Phoenix change a bunch of signs and remove a racial slur from their roadmap. Of course this would only be a gesture in the face of the fact that the Phoenix metro-area is 2500 square miles of pavement irrigated by water stolen from Mexican farmers by way of the Central Arizona Project aquaduct. Phoenix, the disgusting blemish on the face of humanity, must pay!

A Mountain By Any Other Name 16.Apr.2003 09:53

Paul Heller

This is the story of a mountain that someone, long ago, was insensitive enough to name Squaw Peak. It is a popular place for hikers and sightseers, and is actually rated as one of the more difficult climbs in Arizona, given the steep angle at which it juts above the artificially green valley we call home.

There are a lot of people, though, who don't like the name Squaw Peak, or the name of the freeway that winds through Phoenix's North Mountain Preserve, the Squaw Peak Parkway (a.k.a. State Route 51). People who have absolutely nothing better to think about will tell you that the word "squaw" is a French-based slur (of course) which was directed toward the females of the Algonquin Indian tribe. They say the word refers not to "a woman", but rather to a woman's private parts.

There is little if any basis to this assertion. The origin of the word has been exhaustively researched, if you call surfing the Internet "research", by many people. And for years now we have been hearing them cry that the name Squaw Peak is racist, misogynist, and mean spirited. Many well-intentioned idiots have suggested other names, like Iron Mountain (even though there is no iron in it), or Goldwater Mountain (even though old Barry would have been horrified by the notion).

Last week, in a fit of sweaty patriotic fever - Squaw Fever we'll call it - the local paper trotted out an editorial, opining how grand it would be if we renamed Squaw Peak after Army Private First Class Lori Piestewa, a member of the Hopi tribe from Tuba City, Arizona. She was killed in Iraq; after the dramatic rescue of POW Jessica Lynch, Piestewa's body was discovered along with the others from the ill-fated column of support personnel who took a wrong turn.

The letters that the paper chose to run on their op/ed pages over the next few days reflected a great deal of support for their "idea". Native Americans and white-eyes alike seemed to come together over this bit of editorial pandering. One woman's words practically gushed off the page in her support of such an honorable thing. And she ended her letter by asking how to pronounce the woman's name.

Then the paper had to run a bit of a retraction, sort of a "whoa, Nellie" piece. As it turns out, according to Federal and State law, a mountain cannot be named after someone until that someone has been deceased for a minimum of five years. Never mind that the editors of the paper might have done some homework beforehand; the Arizona State Board on Geographical and Historic Names refused to consider the official request of Governor Janet Napolitano to change the name of the mountain.

So yesterday, our new Governor did what any proud Democrat will do when her toes are stepped on. She demanded the resignation of one Tim Norton, chairman of said board. Of course, he refused to resign his post, and Napolitano, while she may believe she runs the entire world from her offices here in Phoenix, has no authority to remove him. For crying out loud, he's a volunteer.

Kris Mayes, spokeswoman for our lawyer-governor (who deigns not speak to the unwashed masses herself), explains: "The board is required to consider proposals, and there was a refusal to do that. He declined our request." Well, sort of. Since he was bound by statute in his inability to consider the proposal, he merely took a shortcut, and said no. There is little reason to consider a proposal that is prohibited by law.

I am personally against renaming Squaw Peak. For one, Tuba City is about four hours away by car from Phoenix. There are surely prettier monuments closer to Piestewa's ancestral homeland that could potentially be dedicated, after five years, in her honor.

Secondarily, this is a cheap attempt by the whiners who don't like the moniker Squaw Peak to get their way, using Piestewa's good name to accomplish their goal. I knew that such people, who will go to any length in their quest for political correctness, existed, but I didn't realize that I had voted one of them into office. Back in her campaign stage, the governor presented some good ideas to the public. Renaming Squaw Peak was not a plank in her platform until yesterday.

I can't help but think of Marine Lance Corporal Mike Williams, a Phoenician who signed up to be a fighting man shortly after September 11th, 2001. He was killed by mortar fire, in front-line combat, before anybody knew Lori Piestewa from a hole in the ground. Nobody is out there asking volunteer board members to resign because they won't consider changing the name of the mountain to Williams Peak. This is about the worst kind of politics, and Lori Piestewa deserves better. As one dissenter whose opinion was published put it, maybe the paper could create a scholarship fund for Piestewa's children, and match the public's contributions, dollar for dollar (cue the crickets).

Naming anything after any of our troops, who followed orders and died in a war that was unnecessarily costly and stupid, is no more than an act of preachy, maudlin, self-serving hogwash. If you want to make a statement that tells the true story of Gulf War II, and the heroes who died entertaining our dimwit president, you could change the name of the mountain to this:

"Dubya Sent Her Off To Die At Her" Peak.