Campaign to Change The Name
In November of 2022, the California Advisory Committee on Geographic Names voted unanimously to recommend “Yokuts Valley” to the US Board of Geographic Names as the official replacement for S-Valley. In January 2023, the USBGN will assemble to finalize the vote.
“The word “Yokuts”, meaning the people, is an appropriate choice to honor the land's first inhabitants, its past settlers, present community, and welcome future residents. A land acknowledgement is a traditional custom that dates back centuries in many native nations and communities. Today, land acknowledgements have been used by Native peoples and non-native peoples alike to recognize the original stewards of the land. For land acknowledgement to have meaning beyond the symbolic, requires at the very least that we come to know something of the lands and lives of the first inhabitants. The single most common fear of tribal elders of the impacted tribes, without Federal Acknowledgement, is to be forgotten tribally and as a people. Your selection of “Yokuts Valley” will forever acknowledge the first stewards of the land.” - Excerpt from a letter to the CACGN written by Roman Rain Tree, Chair of the Rename S Valley Coalition
“Squaw” (in recognition of the harm this term represents, we will use “sq**w” from here on) is a profoundly offensive term that epitomizes the racism and sexism Native American women face. It has no place in our vocabulary, much less as the name of a place!
Despite overwhelming community support for a new name for their town, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors has so far refused to work with local Indigenous leaders to change this derogatory name.