Montana Geographic Names Advisor

Geographic Name Change Request

Change Squaw Pass to Cube Iron Pass
Sanders County, Montana

Status = Approved

Description gap, point, in Lolo National Forest; 0.6 km (0.4 mi) SE of Cube Iron Mountain, 2.3 km (1.4 mi) NW of Duckhead Lake; named in association with nearby Cube Iron Mountain, which was named for cube iron found there
Location 47°41’01”N, 115°17’02”W
PLSS Location Sec 11,T22N,R29W
Proposal to change a name considered by some to be derogatory
Proponent Tate Cavill; Thomspon Falls, MT
Administrative area Lolo National Forest
Previous BGN Action None
See also
GNIS ID 791390
Local Usage None found
Published Squaw Pass (USGS 1988)
This proposal was submitted by Montana’s House Bill 412 “Squaw Name Change” Committee, to change the name of Squaw Pass, located in the Lolo National Forest in Sanders County, to Cube Iron Pass. The proposal was submitted to the committee by the supervisor of the Lolo National Forest, on behalf of the Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger District of the Lolo National Forest and the students of Thompson Falls Middle School. The district ranger worked with the local school to provide the students an opportunity to learn about the issue and to assist in the renaming of the feature. Thirty-nine students studied maps, historical notes, and aerial photos, and each prepared a statement justifying the name he or she had chosen to replace Squaw Pass. After the ranger district narrowed the list to three choices, the HB 412 Committee selected and approved the name Cube Iron Pass. It is an associative name, as the gap is located less than a half-mile southeast of Cube Iron Mountain. The summit was reportedly named for cube iron found there.

The proposed change to Cube Iron Pass has the support of the Sanders County Commissioners, the Montana State Geographic Names Board, Montana State Senator Jim Elliot, and the U.S. Forest Service. The proposal was presented to the BGN for a vote in March 2004, but was defferred because of reports by the Chair of the HB 412 Committee that the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes would likely be submitting an alternative proposal, possibly a name of Salish origin. Despite several e-mail exchanges to and from a representative of the Salish and Kootenai indicating the issue was still under discussion, no formal proposal was ever received. A final letter to the Tribes, with a copy to the HB 412 Committee, was sent in March 2006, with an indication that if no further correspondence was received by early May, the BGN would be asked to vote once again on Cube Iron Pass. The Coeur d’Alene Tribe, another Federally-recognized Tribe, was also asked to comment on the change from Squaw Pass to Cube Iron Pass, but no response was received, which is presumed to indicate a lack of an opinion on the issue.

Montana Geographic Names Advisor Recommendation - Support (Friday, November 21, 2003)
Domestic Names Committee Decision Date - Thursday, May 11, 2006
Domestic Names Committee Discussion - A motion was made and seconded to approve this name change.

Vote: 14 in favor
0 against
0 abstentions

The staff reported that the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation may be submitting a counter-proposal, so a motion was made and seconded to defer this proposal.

Vote: 10 in favor
0 against
0 abstentions

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