Restricted The Scott's Oriole named after Winfield Scott is under review for a name change

jcaesar

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Aug 28, 2020
With lemon and black plumage, the Scott’s oriole flashes in the desert like a flame. But the bird’s name holds a violent history that Stephen Hampton can’t forget. He used to see the orioles often, living in California. Now that he lives outside the bird’s range, “I’m kind of relieved,” he says.

Hampton is a birder and registered citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Winfield Scott, a U.S. military commander and the bird’s namesake, drove Hampton’s ancestors and other Native Americans from their land in the 1800s during a series of forced marches now known as the Trail of Tears. The journey killed over 4,000 Cherokee, displacing as many as 100,000 people in the end.

“So much of the Trail of Tears is already erased,” Hampton says. “There’s a few historical sites, but you’d have to be an archaeologist to figure out where the actual stockades were.” Linking Scott’s legacy to a bird “is just adding to the erasure by putting another layer over it.”

The oriole is just one of dozens of species that scientists are considering renaming because of racist or other offensive connotations. In a groundswell of revision, scientists are wrestling with this heritage...

The American Ornithological Society initially rejected Driver’s proposal to revise the name of a brownish-gray bird called McCown’s longspur, named after Confederate general John P. McCown. But after the 2020 murder of George Floyd sparked nationwide reflection on systemic racism and as some Confederate monuments were removed and sports teams with offensive epithets were renamed, the ornithology society changed its policies to consider a namesake’s role in “reprehensible events” as grounds for revision. Now, the bird is known as the thick-billed longspur.

Driver wants Scott’s oriole to be next — but for now, English bird name changes have paused while a committee with the society recommends a new name-changing process. “We are committed to changing these harmful and exclusionary names,” says Mike Webster, an ornithologist at Cornell University and president of the society.

Removing harmful terms offers long-term stability in common names, Ware says. With thoughtful criteria, scientists and others can craft names built to last. “So it might be uncomfortable now,” Ware says. “But hopefully, that only happens once.”

As for Hampton, he doesn’t see Scott’s oriole anymore, now that he lives in Washington State. But he still can’t escape these types of names. Sometimes while birding, he spies Townsend’s solitaire — a bird that favors juniper berries. It’s named after American naturalist John Kirk Townsend, who collected Indigenous people’s skulls in the 1830s for cranial measurements that were used to justify pseudoscientific racial hierarchies. “Every time I see one [of the birds], I’m thinking, ‘That should be juniper solitaire,’” Hampton says. In his mind’s eye, Scott’s oriole is the yucca oriole. “I can’t wait for those to be changed.”

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/racism-common-animal-names
 
Joined
Jan 28, 2021
Are colors also offensive? Blackbird, White Rhinoceros, Yellow Tailed Tuna, Redwood, Pink Eyed Pea
How about the specimen tree 'Sherman Oak'? Mary Washington Asparagus? Kennedy Rose? Monticello Peach? Confederate Rose Hibiscus? Indian Pipe plant? Cherokee Purple Tomato? Mexican Petunia?
 

Quaama

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Sep 13, 2020
Location
Port Macquarie, Australia
This sort of ridiculous renaming is not restricted to the USA. Recently a popular brand of cheese had its name changed after almost 100 years because it was thought to be offensive (even though it was the surname of its founder).

Similar things have happened in regards to animals for some time and particularly in regards to fish [or that may be my bias as a fisherman]. However, changing the official name of a fish, bird or other animal does not necessarily translate into usage. For example, a fish known here as a jewfish had its name officially changed to mulloway late in the 1980s. Apart from fishing magazines who usually use both names, no-one I know calls them mulloway and they are referred to as jew or jewie in common speech.

Common names for birds, animals and other things have a strong tendency to stay as they has always been. Here's another example, how often do people dial a number when they want to telephone someone despite their being no dials on telephones for quite some time. My children have never even known a telephone with a dial yet they still dial numbers and their children will probably be the same.
 

Booklady

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Mar 19, 2017
Location
New England
The General Sherman sequoia has been in the news lately as firefighters in California work to protect it. This is an interesting article about its naming, with ironies and an alternate historic name noted. https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2021/09/19/general-sherman-sequoia-national-park-retropolis/

FTA:
The largest tree in the world has lived through millennia, has been named for a Civil War general, and has shaded a socialist commune that briefly called it Marx. Now the centerpiece of Sequoia National Park is endangered by the California wildfires burning nearby....
“So you get General Sherman, one of the most feared Indian fighters in the U.S., whose middle name, Tecumseh, is after an Indian resistance fighter, whose name then gets put onto a tree called the sequoia, brings out all these layers of irony,” Miller said. “It’s a really rich episode with many layers of irony and a tragedy, and the way that certain historical stories got erased or closed in a very specific way for specific political and cultural reasons.”
The ginormous tree’s current name is not the only one it has had. For five years, it was Karl Marx.
From 1886 to 1892, the Kaweah Colony, a socialist commune established itself amid the Sierra Nevada’s sequoia groves after its organizer, Charles F. Kellar, heard of the “vast timber region dotted with giant trees,” the Fresno Bee reported in 1936. With 40 colonists, Kellar organized a community whose economy was based on sustainable logging. But the colony’s utopian dream began faltering when it began selling lumber...
 

RobertP

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Nov 11, 2009
Location
Dallas
The General Sherman sequoia has been in the news lately as firefighters in California work to protect it. This is an interesting article about its naming, with ironies and an alternate historic name noted. https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2021/09/19/general-sherman-sequoia-national-park-retropolis/

FTA:
The largest tree in the world has lived through millennia, has been named for a Civil War general, and has shaded a socialist commune that briefly called it Marx. Now the centerpiece of Sequoia National Park is endangered by the California wildfires burning nearby....
“So you get General Sherman, one of the most feared Indian fighters in the U.S., whose middle name, Tecumseh, is after an Indian resistance fighter, whose name then gets put onto a tree called the sequoia, brings out all these layers of irony,” Miller said. “It’s a really rich episode with many layers of irony and a tragedy, and the way that certain historical stories got erased or closed in a very specific way for specific political and cultural reasons.”
The ginormous tree’s current name is not the only one it has had. For five years, it was Karl Marx.
From 1886 to 1892, the Kaweah Colony, a socialist commune established itself amid the Sierra Nevada’s sequoia groves after its organizer, Charles F. Kellar, heard of the “vast timber region dotted with giant trees,” the Fresno Bee reported in 1936. With 40 colonists, Kellar organized a community whose economy was based on sustainable logging. But the colony’s utopian dream began faltering when it began selling lumber...
I read about that the other day. The Dept. of the Interior erased the name of the Robt. E. Lee tree in the same grove last year. Gen. Grant’s tree is there too. Maybe they should just burn Sherman’s sequoia down. :smile coffee:
 

Booklady

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Joined
Mar 19, 2017
Location
New England
I read about that the other day. The Dept. of the Interior erased the name of the Robt. E. Lee tree in the same grove last year. Gen. Grant’s tree is there too. Maybe they should just burn Sherman’s sequoia down. :smile coffee:
It is interesting, isn't it, how some figures survive cancellation, at least for now. I don't have a problem with the tree being called after Gen. Sherman; it does seem like there is a double standard or an easing of standards at times, but I suppose that's human nature.
 
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