California Assemblyman Paul Fong proposes re-naming place names to accommodate non-Spanish speakers

New law will remove the word ‘squaw’ from California place names

A state lawmaker is proposing a new law to re-word California place names so that “natives” and “squaw” mean the same thing.

Assemblyman Paul Fong, a Democrat from San Francisco, introduced his bill on May 10 to rename several place names to accommodate non-Spanish-speaking residents, such as “Kap” in San Francisco and “Pit” in Livermore.

San Francisco’s Kapiolani Park, for example, is said to be named after the first chief of the Waikanae tribe on a Hawaiian land grant, but the state Department of General Services says the name is mispelled on one of the park’s signs and that the word should be spelled “Ka” and pronounced “kah-PAH-uh.”

The state’s Bureau of Indian Affairs website states that “naming a public place after a tribe, village or other aboriginal entity of Native Americans is not permitted.”

Kapiolani Park, a city park for public use, is named after the Hawai’i “tribe” of the first chief of the Waikanae tribe on a Hawaiian land grant, according to the city website.

Fong said he supports re-naming many of California’s place names to accommodate non-Spanish speakers, including the state capital, Sacramento.

“It wasn’t that long ago that we had a lot of language confusion in California,” Fong said.

“I want us to make sure that people who are non-Spanish-speaking are not confused with native Californians,” he added.

Under Fong’s proposed law, the word “squaw” is to be changed to the Spanish equivalent of the word “nacion,” which means “nation�

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