Montana Geographic Names Advisor

Geographic Name Change Request

Change Squaw Mountain to Hirschy Mountain
Beaverhead County, Montana

Status = Approved

Description summit, elevation 3,171 m (10,404 ft), in Beaverhead National Forest, 7.3 km (4.5 mi) NNE of Homer Youngs Peak, 4.5 km (2.8 mi) S of Twin Lakes; named for Fred Hirschy (1884-1975), longtime area rancher who settled in the Big Hole Valley in 1894
Location 45°22’25”N, 113°42’21”W
PLSS Location Sec 28, T5S, R17W
Proposal to change a name considered by some to be derogatory
Proponent Jack and Ann Hirschy; Jackson, MT
Administrative area Beaverhead National Forest
Previous BGN Action None
See also 38408
GNIS ID 791387
Local Usage None found
Published Squaw Mountain (USGS 1979)
The names Sacajawea Mountain and Hirschy Mountain have both been submitted as replacements for Squaw Mountain, a summit in Beaverhead County. The first name was proposed by the Montana House Bill 412 “Squaw Name Change” Committee, which would like to honor the young Indian scout who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their expedition to the Pacific Ocean. According to GNIS, there are already 11 features in Montana that are named “Sacajawea.” Two of these are summits, although neither is in Beaverhead County nor in adjoining counties in Montana. However, in neighboring Lemhi County, Idaho, less than 16 km (9 mi) to the south of the summit in question is another feature named Sacajawea Peaks (BGN 2001); both summits are located on the same U.S. Geological Survey 7.5-minute topographic map.

After the U.S. Forest Service District Office expressed concern regarding the similarity between the two names in such close proximity, two residents of Jackson submitted a counter-proposal for Hirschy Mountain. This name would honor Fred Hirschy (1884-1975), who settled in the Big Hole Valley in 1894. In 1910, he borrowed two hundred dollars to start his own cattle ranch, which he operated until his death in 1975. Members of the Hirschy family still operate the ranch today.

The Beaverhead County Commissioners and Montana State Board on Geographic Names both recommend approval of the proposal for Hirschy Mountain, while the Forest Service has no objection to that name. The Forest Service does not support the proposal for Sacajawea Mountain. Copies of both proposals were forwarded to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation; the Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho; and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation of Idaho, all of which are Federally-recognized, but no response was received, which is presumed to indicate a lack of an opinion on the issue.

Montana Geographic Names Advisor Recommendation - Support (Tuesday, November 15, 2005)
Domestic Names Committee Decision Date - Tuesday, June 6, 2006
Domestic Names Committee Discussion - A motion was made and seconded to approve the name Hirschy Mountain, citing a concern that the name Sacajawea Mountain too closely resembles another name in close proximity, as well as the support of the county, the State Names Authority, and Federal land management agency for Hirschy Mountain.

Vote: 12 in favor
0 against
0 abstentions

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