Increasing Debate Over Future of Historic Street Names

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Increasing Debate Over Future of Historic Street Names

Some historic Phoenix streets may soon be getting new names.

According to Mayor Greg Stanton, Squaw Peak Drive and Robert E. Lee Street do not reflect the city’s values, and he’s been trying to get the names changed for a while.

Now, it looks like this wish will be granted. The city council recently voted 6-3 to change policy, making it easier for them to change names considered derogatory or offensive, even if local residents want otherwise.

Arizona’s native American community has expressed a lot of support for the movement to rename Squaw Peak Drive. The term is recognized as a derogatory and disparaging way to refer to North American Indian women.

However, many residents of Squaw Peak Drive have resisted the name change, even organizing a petition arguing the streets name is part of their unique history.

Previous Phoenix policy stated that if 75 percent of residents resist a change, it won’t happen. This new vote and policy does away with this stipulation, making it easier to change the name.

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