Montana Geographic Names Advisor

Geographic Name Change Request

Change Squaw Creek to Sin-tin-tin-em-ska Creek
Missoula County, Montana

Status = Approved

Description stream, 15 km (9.3 mi) long, heads at 46°38’14”N, 114°03’20”W, flows N to enter the Bitterroot River, 12 km (7.4 mi) NE of Florence, 2.7 km (1.7 mi) SE of Lolo; the word Sin-tintin- em-ska is the traditional Salish-Pend d’Oreille name for the area and means “Where you rein your horse back”
Location 46°44’07”N, 114°03’48”W
PLSS Location T11N, R20W
Proposal to change a name considered by some to be derogatory
Proponent Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes; Pablo, MT
Not Squaw Creek
Administrative area None
Previous BGN Action None
See also
GNIS ID 791370
Local Usage None found
Published Squaw Creek (USGS 1967, 1979; SummitPost website)
rrent name Squaw Creek applies to a 15 km (9.3 mi) long tributary of the Bitterroot River. The origin of the stream’s name has not been determined; the earliest map on which the name has been located is the USGS topographic map published in 1967. The proposed replacement name, Sin-tin-tin-em-ska Creek, is the Anglicization of the “old Salish placename for the area where this creek flows and means reining-back-your-horse.” The proponent adds “the name’s origin reaches back to the time when the Salish people, based in the Bitterroot Valley, would conduct buffalo hunts or raids east of the mountains. During their return journey, the people would reach this area and their horses would know they were almost home – and so they would start straining against the reins.” 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. Both the Ravalli County Commissioners and the Missoula County Commissioners responded that they do not endorse the change; this information was provided by the State Names Authority, but no details were included. The State Names Authority supports the proposal.

Montana Geographic Names Advisor Recommendation - Support (Tuesday, December 9, 2008)
Domestic Names Committee Decision Date - Thursday, December 11, 2008
Domestic Names Committee Discussion - A motion was made and seconded to approve these three name changes.

Vote: 12 in favor
0 against
0 abstentions

Page History