Here in South Dakota some folks in the legislature are trying to change the names of some geographical sites that contain “Negro” and “Squaw” in the titles.

This includes about 18 creeks, canyons and mountain ridges with names like “Negro Wool Ridge” and “Negro Gulch”.

The state asked the federal government for the go ahead, but it turns out that there is a an obscure federal body called the “U.S. Board on Geographic Names” that so far doesn’t like the suggested name changes. This includes changing Negro Creek to Medicine Mountain Creek.

June Hansen is a member of the South Dakota Board of Geographic Names. She says “It is hard for us to come up with a good name and there is some pretty strict criteria for what the name has to be."

Apparently the federal body does not consider the word “Negro” or “Squaw” to be offensive.

This brings up a couple of questions.

One: Who is paying to fund these federal boards?

Two: Who is paying to fund these federal boards?