116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Wanatee Creek is now the official name for the creek, formerly known as Squaw Creek, that runs through Linn County.
County officials were notified Friday that the U.S. Board of Geographic Names had approved the name change and had entered it into the Geographic Names Information System, according to a news release.
'This is a great day for Linn County,” Supervisor Stacey Walker said. 'We're honored to have played a small role in the process to discontinue use of a derogatory term, replacing it with a name that pays tribute to an icon and honors the rich heritage of the native peoples of America.”
The name Wanatee comes from Jean Adeline Morgan Wanatee, who was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1993. Wanatee was born on the Meskwaki Settlement in Tama County in 1910 and became an women's rights advocate at the state and national level.
She also the first woman elected to the Meskwaki Tribal Council. She died in 1996.
In September 2020, the Linn County Conservation Board voted to change the name of the Squaw Creek Park along Highway 100 in Marion to Wanatee Park.
Native Americans and others say the term 'squaw” is considered an offensive and disparaging slur applied to Native American women.
The choices to change the names of the park and creek came from discussion and consultation with several groups, including the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi of Iowa (Meskwaki Nation), the state archaeologist, Iowa State Historical Society, Tallgrass Archaeology and local governments.
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