With mayor's signature, Squaw Island is no more

Jul 6, 2015

A brief ceremony was held in Buffalo City Hall Monday to officially change the name of Squaw Island to Unity Island.

The signing of the legislation by Mayor Byron Brown was witnessed by members of the Seneca Nation of Indians, including President Maurice John.

In the front row, Seneca President Maurice John, Mayor Byron Brown and Councilmember Joseph Golombek were among those celebrating the renaming of the former Squaw Island.
Credit City of Buffalo

"On behalf of all natives, especially the women in the United States, we are definitely making a historic statement," John said. "This is one that will speak forever."

Many Native Americans consider the word squaw to be derogatory toward native woman. The Common Council approved the bchange last month. The new native name is Ga’nigo:i:yoh.

“Today we continue to honor the legacy of our Native American brothers and sisters who are forever tied to our city and region,” said Brown. “I applaud the citizens who spearheaded the effort for the new name."

City crews have already started the process of changing street signs to reflect the change to Unity Island.