US

New York lawmakers vote to rename Squaw Island as Native Americans say it's offensive

New York lawmakers have voted to rename Squaw Island amid complaints from Native Americans the name is racist and sexist.

The Niagara River island will become Unity Island after a unanimous vote by Buffalo's Common Council on Tuesday. The vote followed a public hearing at which all but one of a handful of speakers supported the change.

Seneca Indian Nation member Tina Abrams says the current name is insulting to all Seneca women and calls the change overdue.

A historic marker at the island says the Senecas originally called it Divided Island, referring to a creek that runs through and divides the land. The island was named Squaw Island by French explorers in 1679.

The island is a 60-acre city park and is accessible by a bridge.