Montana Geographic Names Advisor

Geographic Name Change Request

Change Squaw Teats to Choo-heh-meen Hills
Sweet Grass County, Montana

Status = Approved

Description summit, elevation 1,540 m (5,052 ft), located 21 km (13 mi) E of the Yellowstone River at Big Timber, 10.5 km (6.5 mi) NE of Greycliff; Choo-heh-meen is an Anglicization of the Salish-Pend d’Oreille name for the Yellowstone River
Location 45°49’29”N, 109°40’41”W
PLSS Location Sec 24, T1N, R16E
Proposal to change a name considered by some to be derogatory
Proponent Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes; Pablo, MT
Not Squaw Teats
Administrative area None
Previous BGN Action None
See also
GNIS ID 777134
Local Usage None found
Published Squaw Teats (USGS 1957, 1977, 1979; SummitPost website)
This proposed name change was submitted by the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes (CSKT), to change officially the name of Squaw Teats, which the CSKT finds “offensive and derogatory.” The two summits in question have an elevation of 1,540 m (5,052 ft) and are located in east-central Sweet Grass County, 21 km (13 mi) east of the Yellowstone River. The earliest map on which the current name has been located is the 1957 USGS topographic map. The proposed replacement name, Choo-heh-meen Hills, derives from the Anglicization of the Salish-Pend d’Oreille name for the nearby Yellowstone River, an area used by the tribes “for millennia.”

A decision on this proposal was deferred by the BGN at its June 2008 meeting, citing a concern that the proposed name included the singular generic term “Hill,” while the current name is plural. The map clearly shows two peaks. The CSKT has agreed that the generic should be modified to “Hills.”

The proposed change has the support of the Montana State Geographic Names Authority, while the Sweet Grass County Commissioners “are not opposed.” The proposal is also supported by the Montana House Bill 412 “Squaw Name Change” Advisory Committee and the American Indian Caucus of the Montana State Legislature. A copy of the proposal was forwarded to the Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Reservation, the Crow Tribe, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, and the Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho, all of which are Federally recognized, but no response was received, which is presumed to indicate a lack of an opinion.

Montana Geographic Names Advisor Recommendation - Support (Wednesday, January 30, 2008)
Domestic Names Committee Decision Date - Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Domestic Names Committee Discussion - A motion was made and seconded to approve this change.

Vote: 10 in favor
0 against
0 abstentions

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