He came to BYU straight from a reservation. He was the first Native American hired by ESPN Magazine. He sparked a controversy in the sports world over the Washington Redskins’ name. Now Eugene Tapahe wants to bring to Provo’s attention another name offensive to Native Americans: Squaw Peak.
“The r-word, which is ‘redskins,’ the s-word, which is ‘squaw,’ and the n-word, which is really bad for black people — those are all in the same category,” Tapahe said. “But we throw ‘squaw’ around like it’s nothing.”
Provo Mayor John Curtis announced at the Provo Women’s Day Lecture Series in March that his department is in the beginning stages of changing the name of the Provo peak because “squaw” is a derogatory term for Native American women.
The name-change committee includes Provo Mayor’s Office Media Specialist Courtney Kendrick, BYU Native American literature professor Michael Taylor and Meredith Lam, a member of the Navajo tribe and director of American Indian Education for Provo City School District.