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Feds change name of Squaw Creek refuge despite objections
MOUND CITY (AP) — Despite strong opposition from some area residents and a U.S. congressman, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Wednesday it is changing the name of the Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge in northwest Missouri because the term “squaw” is considered offensive.
The new name is Loess Bluff National Wildlife Refuge, in recognition of nearby hills that stretch from 30 miles south of St. Joseph to northern Iowa, according to a news release from agency director Dan Ashe.
Republican U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, who represents the district where the refuge is located, has led opposition to the name change and vowed Wednesday to do what he could to reverse the decision.
The refuge, with approximately 7,400 acres of wetlands, grasslands, and forests in the Missouri River flood plain, is an important stop for thousands of migrating birds. It has been called Squaw Creek since it was established in 1935 by President Franklin Roosevelt. The name recognizes a creek of the same name that runs through the refuge.
“This is a ridiculous overreach of federal power, and we’re prepared to do whatever possible to stop it from happening,” Graves said.