By Ray Stern
By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
That's because "squaw," as the subscholarly sociolinguists in the American Indian Movement have long argued, is not in fact synonymous with "Indian whore," nor is it a derogatory dickhead gringo term for a Native American woman's honeypot.
Actual linguistic scholars have proved that the word "squaw" in fact comes from the Algonquin word meaning "young woman." Related words are still used in the languages of many Algonquin tribes including the Cree, Fox, Unami Delaware and Munsee Delaware.
So Squaw Peak means "Young Indian Woman Peak." But Squaw Peak is a better name than "Young Indian Woman Peak" because it says the same thing in five fewer syllables, which is just one short of the syllabic savings you get calling Colin Powell "black" instead of "African American."
Still, the pussies who make their living being offended continue to push for a name change for Squaw Peak, which, if you don't know, is that barren, ersatz hill north of downtown that's about as pathetic sizewise as a British lassie's tits.
Truly impressive western U.S. peaks, you'll notice, are named after the breasts of French or Spanish women, not the nubs of Anglo-Saxons or the vaginas of Native Americans, which also aren't unusually large, according to scholars.
Indeed, the Tetons and other mountains should be named after ample breasts because that's exactly what they look like.
Oddly, the habit of French and Spanish explorers naming western mountains after breasts did not lead to the next logical step -- the naming of canyons after butt cracks and caverns after vaginas.
For example, Kartchner Caverns, a fairly normal-size cave near Tucson, would be shortened two syllables with the name "Squaw Hole," if, in fact, "squaw" meant "vagina," which it doesn't.
So, "Hoo-Ha Hole" it is.
(While we're at it, we could clean up this confusion about which pointy cave structures are stalactites and which are stalagmites. Calcium carbonate deposits hanging from a cave's ceiling could be called "roof dicks"; those nature erected from the ground could be the "floor dicks." Or, to save more time, simply call them "noodles" and "boners.")
But I digress from the news, which is much more obscene than landmarks named for sex organs.
Late last week, increasingly lame Governor Janet Napolitano asked for the resignation of the chairman of the Arizona Board on Geographic and Historic Names because the guy refused to consider a request to rename Squaw Peak in honor of Army Private Lori Piestewa, the Hopi woman with four syllables in her last name who was killed in the early days of the invasion of Iraq.
The volunteer chairman, Tim Norton, had the audacity to remind Napolitano that state and federal rules prohibit naming or renaming a geographic feature in honor of a deceased person within five years of the date of the person's death.
The rules are in place to avoid the confusion and bureaucratic messes caused when pandering politicians such as Napolitano attempt to reap political gain from civic moments of grief and patriotism. If there were no such rules, federal topographers would be changing maps weekly to keep up with politicians renaming landmarks for every cop, fireman, soldier, sports hero or oppressed minority whose death happens to inspire a candlelight vigil photo on the front page of the Arizona Republic.
The five-year rule allows for a cooling-off period of sorts, a chance to weigh the historical significance of the person and his or her accomplishments against the huge inconvenience to both the government and the citizenry of changing a landmark's name.
It is a good rule. And besides that, Tim Norton is a good man who is simply doing his duty in an utterly thankless position that nobody knew existed until last week.
Yet Janet Napolitano sees an easy target, which, her pedestrian career proves, is the only kind of target she likes. Beating up Tim Norton gives her the chance to look like the liberal she refuses to be when it would take some actual courage to be a liberal.
Indeed, as U.S. attorney, state attorney general and now governor, Napolitano has proven she sorely lacks the characteristics of courage, intelligence and vision needed to get a major landmark named after you.
Truth is, so does Lori Piestewa.
But certainly not by any fault of her own. She was the victim of a terrible tragedy that ended her life before she could ever make a name for herself with her actions.
Major landmarks should be named after great Americans. And great Americans are great because of their actions.
Lori Piestewa was acted upon. She was not a warrior, she was a member of a maintenance crew far from the front line that took a wrong turn and was ambushed by Iraqi soldiers looking for easy targets.
She was the tragic victim of a tragic mistake -- perhaps the tragic victim of unspeakable war crimes.
But because she is the first Native American woman to die in American uniform, she has been canonized far beyond the others among the more than 100 U.S. military dead, many of whom were consciously putting their lives in great peril for their country's goals by serving in forward units of the Army or Marines.