Is Manasquan, NJ going to have to change its name, too?
Two sites in New Jersey will soon be receiving name changes thanks to a new initiative by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
According to NJ.com, the federal government wants to remove the word "squaw" from various lakes, streams, mountains, and valleys around the country. In total, over 650 sites will have the word removed.
The two New Jersey locations in question are Squaw Brook in Passaic County, and Squaw Lake in Burlington County.
The term "squaw" is considered universally offensive by Indigenous groups in America due to its use for hundreds of years in a derogatory context, particularly towards Native American women.
While new names have not been decided yet on the New Jersey locations, NJ.com goes on to report that the Department of the Interior is recommending one of these five names, based on local landmarks for the Passaic County location: First Watchung Mountain, Second Watchung Mountain, Mount Cecchino, Oldham Pond, or Haledon Reservoir.
Government suggestions for the lake in Burlington County are Little Creek, Indian Mills Brook, Cold Water Run, Huckleberry Hill, and Bread and Cheese Run.
The name-change initiative does not include town names, but Manasquan, the beachside little slice of heaven in southern Monmouth County, may be hearing calls from residents in the future looking to join the trend.
Manasquan translates to "stream of the island of squaw." No, the word in question is not directly in the spelling of the name of the town, but it is part of the meaning. The town has been settled for over 100 years, with Native Americans being the first to enjoy the land.
With all that in mind, perhaps a new name would be a sign of progress. Though something tells me people who are not of Native American descent but believe they have greater claim to the land will have a problem with such an initiative.
I reached out to Manasquan Mayor Edward Donovan about the prospects of undergoing a town name change. So far there has been no comment. But in the meantime, if you have any new name suggestions for Manasquan, send them my way.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 producer, writer, and host Joe Votruba. Any opinions expressed are his own.