Debate: Was naming Piestewa Peak the right move?
Monday, March 19, 2007
It's been four years since the state of Arizona named a peak in honor of Lori Piestewa, the Hopi woman who was killed in action in Iraq. But some people still can't get over it.
Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts said changing the name of "Squaw Peak" was a good idea. But she said Gov. Janet Napolitano (D) strong-armed the process.
"It’s sad really because with this warrior, there was a chance to change far more then the derogatory name of a mountain. There was chance to change hearts," she writes. "Instead, four years later you still hear some people snigger about the name that was muscled onto the mountain and some even ignore it, calling it SQUAW Peak in a way that dares you to disagree."
E.J. Montini, one of the first to advocate the change, said Napolitano was right to push the idea even though state policy requires a five-year waiting period between a person's death and the naming of a landmark. Piestewa died in March 2003, near the start of the war in Iraq.
Reader responses to both columns were highly negative. "Good thing we made her a hero for being female and Indian (even though she is also half Mexican.)" one commenter wrote. "Her father called upon Native Americans to stop supporting their fellow soldiers and become deserters."
"Reading Mz Piestewa's 'bio', it certainly isn't any sort of extraordinary inspiration for our youth," another said.