Washington State Democrat Wants to Purge ‘Offensive’ Place-Names

Coon Lake, Howard Lake Natl Parks Services
National Parks Services

Washington State Senator Pramila Jayapal wants to change what she and the state’s Department of Natural Resources describe as ethnically and racially offensively-named landmarks in Washington state.

The Department of Natural Resources has compiled a list of 48 landmarks the senator seeks to rename.

In 2015, Jayapal lead the effort to change Coon Lake to Howard Lake. She says that campaign motivated her latest initiative to rename other racially-offensive historic landmarks in Washington state.

Among some of the other less desirable names and phrases Senator Jayapal and Department of Natural Resources aim to change include anything with, “coon,” “squaw,” or “Jim Crow.”

Jayapal says these names reminder her constituency of times when women and members of victimized ethnic groups were treated badly. Only the “truly offensive” names that “have a context and a history” will be renamed, Jayapal says.

Jayapal’s next step is to file paperwork with the Washington state Committee on Geographic Names.

Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @jeromeehudson