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In McKinley's Shadow 


The recent debate over monuments on the Arcata Plaza makes this a good time to expand the issue. Let's look at removing the numerous offensive place names that dot the Humboldt County map.

Most of these names either denigrate and insult Indians or honor people who murdered Indians.

Here are a few that come to mind:

Larabee Valley, Larabee Creek, Larabee community: These all refer to Henry P. Larabee, who was a participant in the series of massacres that included Indian Island and who singlehandedly murdered dozens of Indians.

D***** Creek: a stream near Iaqua in central Humboldt County that uses a word that rhymes with the "N" word that is so offensive to blacks, and is meant to convey the same level of racist scorn.

At least three Squaw creeks, including one on the Mattole River and another in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. This word insults both Indians and women in general.

Patrick's Point: Named for Patrick Beegan, who fled the area after murdering at least two Indians.

Perhaps it is time for the county to form a commission, with full representation of the local Indian tribes, to compile a list of such names and to use this information as a starting point for local county, city and tribal governments to take concerted action to have these names removed from the maps. In many cases, there are good replacement names already available. For example, L****** Creek was called Slahn-ko by the Nongatl Indians who formerly lived along its banks, while P******'s Point was called Su'mig by the Yuroks who claimed it as part of their territory.

There is no time like the present to heal the wounds of the past.

Jerry Rhode, Eureka

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