Montana Geographic Names Advisor

Geographic Name Change Request

Change Squaw Lake to Christiansen Lake
Beaverhead County, Montana

Status = Withdrawn

Description lake, 4 acres, in Beaverhead National Forest/West Pioneer Mountains Wilderness Study Area, 2.4 km (1.5 mi) WNW of Foolhen Mountain; named for Matt Christiansen (1870-1945), and his two sons, longtime area residents and ranchers
Location 45°45’27”N, 113°13’20”W
PLSS Location Secs 9&16, T1S, R13W
Proposal to change a name considered by some to be derogatory
Proponent Ted and Margery Christiansen; Anaconda, MT
Not Squaw Lake
Administrative area Beaverhead National Forest/West Pioneer Mountains
Previous BGN Action None
See also 38306, 39101, 39102, 39202, 39301, 39618, 39619
GNIS ID 791383
Local Usage None found
Published Squaw Lake (USGS 1962, 1990, 1994; USFS 1981; Beaverhead County map, 1958)
This proposal was submitted by two residents of Anaconda, who own property along Squaw Creek and in the vicinity of Squaw Lake. Although they do not support the Montana House Bill 412 Committee’s efforts to rename geographic features named “Squaw,” they suggest that if the lake must be renamed, the replacement should honor a family that has lived and ranched in the area for a length of time. Matt Christiansen (1870-1945), the proponents’ grandfather, settled in the valley in 1912, and his two sons continued to operate the ranch for many years. The lake is approximately four acres in size and lies along a short unnamed tributary of Squaw Creek. The lake’s current name has appeared on Federal maps since at least 1962. The BGN has already been asked by the HB 412 Committee to change the name to Indian Woman Lake (Review List 383), while another area resident has submitted a counterproposal for the name Jurds Lake (Review List 391). The proponents of the change to Christiansen Lake believe the name Indian Woman Lake is not appropriate, and suggest that Jurd Williams, the intended honoree of the second name, was not of sufficient historical significance in the area. The Beaverhead County Commissioners and the Montana State Geographic Names Authority, both of which had previously endorsed the proposal for Jurds Lake, have withdrawn their support and now recommend approval of Christiansen Lake.

Domestic Names Committee Discussion - awn

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