Montana Geographic Names Advisor

Geographic Name Change Request

Change Squaw Rock to Eagle Rock
Granite County, Montana

Status = Denied

Description cape, elevation 1,646 m (5,400 ft), located 0.3 km (0.2 mi) NW of the mouth of Mill Gulch, overlooking Rock Creek, 24 km (15 mi) W of Philipsburg, on land administered by the Bureau of Land Management; named for eagles often seen in the vicinity
Location 46º21’26”N, 113º36’38”W
PLSS Location Sec 16,T17N,R16W
Proposal to change a name considered by some to be derogatory
Proponent Keith Churchill; Yuba City, CA
Not Squaw Rock
Administrative area None
Previous BGN Action None
See also 38205
GNIS ID 791396
Local Usage None found
Published Squaw Rock (USGS 1975, 1976, 1993, 1996)
This proposal is to change the name of a cape located in Granite County overlooking Rock Creek, from Squaw Rock to Eagle Rock. The proponent, a resident of Yuba City, California, reports that he is a descendant of the Wyman family which first settled in the Rock Creek area in the 1880’s and whose log homes and ranching buildings are still standing. Although his family considered proposing a name that would honor one of the original ranching families in the area, they decided that since all the longtime families were worthy of the honor, it would be more equitable to select a non-commemorative name. The name Eagle Rock would recognize “the majestic eagles that soar over the valley and build their nests in the rock outcropping”. The proponent also suggests the name should be acceptable to the “Native Americans” of the area because the eagle is also respected by them and “it represents the honored symbol of a free spirit.” Although the origin of the name Squaw Rock has not been determined, it has appeared on Federal maps since 1975.

The feature lies on land administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), while nearby Squaw Rock Campground lies on National Forest land (a representative of the BLM suggested that the campground has already been renamed, but this has yet to be confirmed).

Another proposal, to change the name of Squaw Rock to Wright Rock (q.v.), was submitted by the Boone and Crockett Club, whose members wish to honor Dr. Philip Wright, noted ornithologist, mammalogist, and zoologist. Both proposals were forwarded to the U.S. Board by the Montana House Bill 412 “Squaw Name Change” Committee, but with no preference given to either name. The HB 412 Committee has asked that the U.S. Board render the final decision on which of the proposed changes is more appropriate. There are three other features in Granite County named “Eagle” – Eagle Canyon, Eagle Creek, and Eagle Point. The closest is the stream, located 13 km (8.2 mi) to the northwest. In addition, there are nine features in Montana already named Eagle Rock. The closest of these is in Beaverhead County, 85 km (53 mi) to the southsoutheast.

A copy of this proposal was forwarded to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the Fort Hall Business Council, both of which are Federally-recognized, for comment but no response was received, which is presumed to indicate a lack of interest in the issue. The government of Granite County recommends approval of the change to Eagle Rock, as do four local landowners, the Mayor of the nearby community of Philipsburg, and the BLM. The Montana Board on Geographic Names, however, does not support this proposal, and recommends that the proposed change to Wright Rock be approved instead.

Montana Geographic Names Advisor Recommendation - Oppose
Domestic Names Committee Decision Date - Thursday, November 13, 2003
Domestic Names Committee Discussion - This proposal is to change the name of a feature in Granite County. The proponent suggests the name Eagle Rock would recognize the presence of eagles in the area, and which build their nests in the outcropping (see Attachment B, #2). A motion was made and seconded to approve the change.

Vote: 5 in favor
6 against
0 abstentions
The negative votes were cast in the belief that the alternative proposal, for Wright Rock (q.v.), was more appropriate.

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