CNRA Invites Public Comment on Draft Procedures for Removing Derogatory Word from California Geographic Features and Places

Published Date:

SACRAMENTO – The public is invited to provide comment on draft procedures for renaming California geographic features and places containing the derogatory “sq_” term. The draft procedures are now posted on the California Advisory Committee on Geographic Names (CACGN) website.


The term “sq_” is a racist and derogatory term that has historically been used as an offensive ethnic, racial, and sexist slur, particularly for indigenous women. On September 23, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 2022 (Ramos), requiring the term to be removed from all geographic features and place names in the state, commencing on January 1, 2025.

Established in 1928, CACGN’s role is to provide recommendations to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names regarding California names for official use in federal publications. The California Natural Resources Agency is the CACGN executive sponsor.

Under the new law, public agencies are required to report all “sq_” named geographic features and places to CACGN by July 1, 2023. Members of the public may also nominate geographic features and places using an online reporting form.

The draft procedures released by CACGN on May 30 address the new law and outline what will be the required steps for implementation and renaming California geographic features that contain the term. Comments about the draft procedures will be accepted through July 15, and may be submitted by either of the following means:


Email: Please include “CACGN Draft Guidelines Public Comment” in the subject line


U.S. Mail: CACGN – CNRA 715 P Street, 20th Floor Sacramento, CA  95814


After all “sq_”-named geographic features and places are identified to CACGN, public agencies are required to consult with California Native American tribes and engage with the public to identify replacement names that honor and recognize the tribes, cultures and indigenous languages specific to the geographic region in question, including place names that were previously used by Native American tribes or place names proposed by California Native American tribes through the appropriate enactment or resolution. Following consultation with California Native American tribes, public agencies must report to CACGN all proposed replacement names by July 1, 2024.


Additional information about AB 2022 can be found on the CACGN website.