BUFFALO, N.Y. – 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.