Sign goes up for newly-renamed Unity Island

Oct 9, 2015

Squaw Island is no more. Along Niagara Street Friday, members of the Seneca Nation of Indians joined Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown in unveiling a new entry sign for what is now "Unity Island."

Common Council members voted in favor of changing the name back in June. The renaming was signed by Brown soon thereafter. To many Native Americans, the word "squaw" is considered a derogatory term for women.

Seneca President Maurice John and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown celebrated the renaming of the former Squaw Island Friday.
Credit Chris Caya/WBFO News

Seneca President Maurice John says the name change shows that two separate governments can work together.  

"We can move away from a history of degradation and racism. We can go on to success. We can forget the errors of the past," said John.

Brown says the renaming "honors the legacy of Native Americans who are forever tied to the city and region."

"It continues the national dialogue to support cultural tolerance and respect for diversity," said Brown.