“We are pleased to see this mountain receive the name change to Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain, a name that honors an influential Indigenous woman who played such an important role in Colorado history.” –U.S. Forest Service
mess-taw-HAY…that is the phonetic spelling of Clear Creek County, Colorado’s recently renamed mountain . The US Board on Geographic Names approved changing the name of Squaw Mountain to Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain, a name meaning “Owl Woman.” 9News reports the new name for the 11,459-foot mountain south of Idaho Springs was advanced by the North Cheyenne tribe.
Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain is named in honor of an influential 19th-century Cheyenne translator known as Owl Woman. The word “Squaw” is considered offensive, especially to indigenous women. Interestingly, the spelling borrows Ė from German alphabet as it best approximates the Northern Cheyenne pronunciation in written form. Check out the video and hear the correct pronunciation.