[Squaw Valley, California was renamed Yokuts Valley]
Nathan Magsig, Fresno County Supervisor for District 5, was none too happy about it. By 1 p.m. he issued a “clarification” to readers of the Facebook group “Squaw Valley: The Original 93675” that, in actuality, muddied the waters. After reporting that the [United States Board of Geographic Names]’s decision about Yokuts Valley, Magsig stoked white grievance and anger with falsehoods:
▪ Magsig claimed that the USBGN “decided to ignore the comments and resolutions by my office and the residents of Sq— Valley.” Not true! The USBGN carefully considered everything that Magsig had submitted (at the board’s request) — and weighed them with considerations from all interested parties. Carefully considering is not “ignoring.”
▪ Magsig claimed the USBGN “does not have the authority to name recognized locations” that are not on federal land. Not true! In September of this year the USBGN renamed over 650 places, not just federally owned lands, that previously had had “squaw” in their names. Furthermore, the USBGN worked closely with the California Advisory Council on Geographical Names, which had plenty of local input. The implication that the USBGN’s decision was arbitrary and without local input is manifestly false.
▪ Magsig claimed that he expected the California Legislature also to “ignore” his office’s comments and resolutions. Not true! While the Legislature does have the authority to change place names, in the case of Sq— Valley, this is not a future decision. AB 2022 already became law (past tense) in November. And the CACGN has already selected “Yokuts Valley” as the replacement name. It is ironic that Magsig complained about being “ignored,” while for two years he blocked requests from the local Indigenous community (and others) to get a hearing on this issue; he has dismissed the statements of Indigenous leaders that the word “squaw” is a derogatory and racist slur; and he has refused to acknowledge the fact that genocide cleared the way for white settlement of this region.