Montana Geographic Names Advisor

Geographic Name Change Request

Change Squaws Grave Butte to Indian Graves Butte
Fergus County, Montana

Status = Approved

Description summit, elevation 1,194 m (3,916 ft), located 1.7 km (1.1 mi) E of the confluence of Alkali Creek and Warm Spring Creek, 6.6 km (4.1 mi) SSE of Seventytwo Hills
Location 47°16’14”N, 109°37’50”W
PLSS Location Sec 1, T17N, R16E
Proposal to change a name considered by some to be derogatory
Proponent Fergus County Commissioners; Lewistown, MT
Not Squaw Point, Squaws Grave Butte.
Administrative area None
Previous BGN Action None
See also 39604
GNIS ID 777135
Local Usage None found
Published Squaws Grave Butte (USGS 1978, 1991; SummitPost website); Squaw Point (U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey 1961)
The name Squaws Grave Butte applies currently to a 1,194 m (3,916 ft) summit in west-central Fergus County, approximately 1.7 km (1.1 mi) east of the confluence of Alkali Creek and Warm Spring Creek, and 6.6 km (4.1 mi) south-southeast of Seventytwo Hills. The origin of the summit’s current name has not been determined; the earliest map on which the name has been located is the 1978 USGS topographic map. At the peak of the feature is a National Geodetic Survey reference mark designated “Squaw 1961.”

The first proposal, to change the name to In-matl-qe Butte, was submitted by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes; the name is of the Salish and Pend d’Oreille origin and means “place of warm water.” The second proposal, for Indian Graves Butte, was submitted by the Fergus County Commissioners in response to a request for comments on the Salish name (the county has confirmed they prefer the singular form for “Indian” and the plural form for “Graves”). The proposal for In-matl-qe Butte 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 Montana State Names Authority recommends approval of In-matl-qe Butte. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the Chair of the House Bill 412 Committee were advised of the counter-proposal, but declined to offer any further comment.

Montana Geographic Names Advisor Recommendation - Oppose (Monday, February 11, 2008)
Domestic Names Committee Decision Date - Thursday, May 8, 2008
Domestic Names Committee Discussion - A motion was made and seconded to approve the change to Indian Graves Butte.

Vote: 11 in favor
1 against
0 abstentions

The one dissenting vote was cast in support of the recommendation of the State Names Authority.

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