You might think that changing the name of a physical thing like a bluff or a draw or a creek would be fairly straightforward. Then again, you might be wrong:
A panel of state officials assigned to changing offensive names of places in South Dakota has found the task is neither simple nor quick.
The Legislature created the South Dakota Board on Geographic Names nine months ago. The five members held their first meeting earlier this month and met again Wednesday. What they’ve determined is they need to establish an official process for inviting public participation in deciding whether names should be changed and what the new names should be.
The reason is they need to be able to demonstrate to federal officials the basis for their recommendations.
Take simple task. Incorporate a board to handle it. Get approval from everyone to do everything. Finally, get Federal government to say “Go ahead.” Why in the world should the Federal government have anything at all to do with this?
If a state (or city or town) has determined that it would like to change the name of something which is patently offensive to some of its citizens, let it. Will everyone be happy with the result? Absolutely not. And that’s not the end of the world, is it?