“Place names and the stories behind them define how we perceive and connect to landscape. But we live in a world populated by places named for colonizers: Libraries, streets and counties across the country bear names like Washington, Jefferson and Jackson, while ‘San’s and ‘Santa’s dot the Southwest, shadowing California’s coast in missionaries’ cloaks. Can we even see the land underneath those names, in all its complexities? And what is the impact on the mind — especially the Indigenous mind — of a lifetime spent repeating colonizers’ names, invoking their stories?” (Brian Oaster for High Country News)
Trilingual sign in southern Colorado. Photo by Orin Hargraves. See my October 2021 Visual Thesaurus column (no paywall!) for more discussion of place names.