Op-Ed: Name change proposals: Mt. Washington and the Baker River

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Mount Washington

By Kris Pastoriza, Easton, NH

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) recently acknowledged proposals to change the name of Mount Washington to Agiocochook, and the Baker River to Asquamchumauke:

“The BGN is responsible for standardizing geographic names for use by the Federal Government, and its members must approve any new name or name change before it can appear on Federal maps and products. We will prepare a case brief for the proposed change and add it to the BGN’s next Quarterly Review List for consideration by all interested parties.

Local and state opinion is important to the BGN, so we will ask the Coos County government, the New Hampshire Board on Geographic Names (NHBGN), and the U.S. Forest Service to review and comment on the proposal. .. Of course, because of the significance of this feature and the well-established and widespread use of the existing name, the BGN will wish to see additional support from others with an interest in the mountain.”

George and Martha Washington engaged in slavery.

New Hampshire recently approved Ona Judge Staines Day, honoring this enslaved woman who escaped from George and Martha Washington and settled in New Hampshire.

George Washington ordered the Sulllivan Massacre, one of a series of massacres of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) people.

 Lieutenant Baker led an expedition against the Abenaki in which several were killed, for which Baker and his men collected scalp bounties and which led to the Baker River being named after him, to commemorate these killings.

New Hampshire Agency responses to the proposed name changes can be found here.

There is a petition for a name change for Mt. Washington.

— Interested people and organizations are encouraged to submit comments on these proposals to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names at BGNEXEC@usgs.gov. —

Kris Pastoriza,   Easton, N.H.                    

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