Montana Geographic Names Advisor

Geographic Name Change Request

Change Squaw Creek to In-pa-ah Creek
Lake County, Montana

Status = Approved

Description stream, 7 km (4 mi) long, in Swan River State Forest; heads at 47o45’59”N, 113o47’51”W, flows NNW to enter the Swan River 15 km (9 mi) S of Swan Lake; the word In-pa-ah is from the Salish language meaning “Burned-Over Ground”
Location 47°48’15”N, 113°47’47”W
PLSS Location unsurveyed area and Secs 6,7,8,&5 T23N, R17W
Proposal to change a name considered by some to be derogatory
Proponent Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes; Pablo, MT
Not Squaw Creek
Administrative area Swan River State Forest
Previous BGN Action None
See also 38901
GNIS ID 791374
Local Usage None found
Published Squaw Creek (USGS 1965, 1988, 1994; SummitPost website)
The name Squaw Creek applies currently to a 7 km (4 mi) long stream in eastern Lake County and Swan Lake State Forest. The origin of the name has not been determined; the earliest map on which it has been located is the 1965 USGS topographic map. The proposed replacement name, In-pa-ah Creek, was also submitted by the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes and is of Salish origin; according to the proponents it means “Burned-Over Ground” (an earlier proposal for Burned-Over Ground Creek (BGN Review List 389) was later withdrawn in favor of the Salish name). The proponents add this is a “reference to traditional tribal use of fire to maintain the meadows in the area.”

This proposed change has the support of the Montana House Bill 412 “Squaw Name Change” Advisory Committee and the American Indian Caucus of the Montana State Legislature. The Lake County Commissioners are “not opposed” to the proposed change, while the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Montana State Names Authority are in support. The Manager of the Swan River National Wildlife Refuge suggests the change is “a good idea.” A copy of this proposal was sent to the Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Reservation of Montana; the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation; the Crow Tribe of the Crow Reservation of Montana; the Fort Belknap Indian Community of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation; and the Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho, all of which are Federally-recognized Tribes, but no response was received, which is presumed to indicate a lack of an opinion to the name change.

Montana Geographic Names Advisor Recommendation - Support (Sunday, February 3, 2008)
Domestic Names Committee Decision Date - Thursday, May 8, 2008
Domestic Names Committee Discussion - A motion was made and seconded to approve this change.

Vote: 12 in favor
0 against
0 abstentions

Page History