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Phoenix dismantles Squaw Peak, Robert E. Lee street signs

March 2, 2021 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — The city of Phoenix officially installed new signs for two streets whose names have long been considered offensive.

Mayor Kate Gallego watched Monday morning as workers erected a new sign for Piestewa Peak Drive, formerly Squaw Peak Drive.

“This is a huge milestone in becoming the city we strive to be and we will continue working hard to ensure every resident feels respected and safe,” Gallego said later on Twitter.

Historically, “Squaw” is a slur used to describe Native American women. Piestewa honors fallen Native American soldier Lori Piestewa, who was a member of the Hopi tribe and was killed during an ambush in Iraq in 2003.

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Officials also unveiled signage for Desert Cactus Street, formerly Robert E. Lee Street.

Critics said having a street named for the Confederate general glorifies the pro-slavery Confederacy.

For years, critics have urged the street name changes. But it wasn’t until last year’s rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and talk of racial reckoning that the issue gained momentum.

The Phoenix City Council approved both new names.

Some residents disagreed, arguing it would force them to change their addresses on personal documents and records.