From shame to honor: Piestewa Peak replaces Squaw Peak

Staff Reports

With a 5-1 vote, the Arizona State Board on Geographic and Historic Names has made history. Squaw Peak in Phoenix, will be renamed Piestewa Peak in honor of Army Pfc. Lori Piestewa, the Hopi woman killed in action in Iraq.

In the same vote, the board decided to rename the Squaw Peak Freeway the Lori Piestewa Freeway.

Both changes require further approvals, but the voices of Piestewa supporters have been heard.

“For Arizona purposes, the name is now Piestewa Peak,” said Tim Nelson, general counsel for Gov. Janet Napolitano in a report from the Arizona Republic. “The confusing part is what happens now federally with our recommendation to change the name.”

One point of contention is the U.S. Geological Survey’s federal guidelines for Domestic Geographic Names. Their regulations outline a five-year waiting period after a person is deceased in order to be considered for commemoration. As for the freeway, the matter officially rests in the hands of the State Board of Transportation for approval.

At this time, the Piestewa family has not commented on the renaming of the peak.

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