Tester statement on Little Shell call to change Montana place names

Senator: Words reflect the values and culture of our state

(U.S. Senate) – As Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Senator Jon Tester today issued the following statement after leaders of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians called for the words “halfbreed” and “breed” to be removed as place names throughout the state of Montana:

“Words have an impact. They are a reflection of our values as Montanans. The tribes of Montana are rich in culture and tradition, and the names of our creeks, rivers, mountains and valleys should reflect the honor of our tribal communities.”

In 1999, as a state Senator, Tester voted to remove the word “squaw” from place names in Montana. That bill became law and, according to the Associated Press, now only three of the 76 places with “squaw” in the name remain unchanged, with changes to those names pending.

Tester is also actively pushing the NFL’s Washington football team to change its name.