Photo by WJFW Newswatch 12
Lake near Lac du Flambeau now called Amber Lake
Story By Lilly Zoller
Local News Published 09/13/2021 5:35PM, Last Updated 09/14/2021 12:37PM
Lac du Flambeau - "We are beautiful indigenous women and the word squaw is offensive and derogatory. Having it here on the reservation was unjust," said Melissa Doud, a Tribal Council member.
For years, a lake near the Lac du Flambeau reservation had a disparaging word in its name. But after years of debate, that name is finally changing.
"It was once called Squaw Lake but is now called Amber Lake," said Doud.
The change comes after meetings between people from Lac du Flambeau and the lake association.
"A lot of people on the lake association side were a little bit weary of the name change because of the price that may come with it on a state standpoint," said Brittany Allen, another Tribal Council member.
But Allen says the costs shouldn't be too great now that the name has officially been changed on the state side. This new name, Amber Lake, reflects the amber shade the water turns when the tamarack needles fall into the lake.
But not all towns have accepted this name change like Lac du Flambeau did.
The Town of Lac du Flambeau in Vilas County has already changed the name of the road to Amber Lake Road. But Minocqua in Oneida County hasn't changed the name. It's up to town government to change the name. Minocqua Town Chairman Mark Hartzheim told WJFW the Town Board will consider changing the name of the road to reflect the new name of Amber Lake. Doud and Allen are hopeful.
"Well, we're hoping that this has a ripple effect throughout the state. We know that there's another, a few more names out there like that, so hopefully we can be the pioneer in helping that change," said Doud.
The councilwomen say they are proud to be forerunners of this movement. They consider it a win for the equality of the native people.
"This is greater than just a name change," said Allen. "This is greater than simply changing your address. It's a movement towards equality for everybody, for native people within Western society."