A Montana Judge Has Forced Them To Change The ‘Offensive’ Name Of A Lake…

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A Flathead County District Court judge ruled to grant a petition to change the name of a lake southwest of Whitefish that they believed was racist to black people.

Lost Coon Lake is southwest of Whitefish and is about 61 acres in size. There is no public access to the lake. A portion of the Whitefish Golf Course borders the western shore, thus the city owns property along the lake.

To change the name, it requires at least 10 of the property owners along the lake, of which there are roughly 20 total, to petition the court. After a public hearing process, a hearing will be held and if there is no opposition then the change will likely be approved. Then the change of name will be recorded with the county and the U.S. Board of Geographic Names.

Photo Credit: Twitter/Vanessa Perez - NBC Montana

District Judge Dan Wilson approved the petition Tuesday to change the name of “Lost Coon Lake” to “Lost Loon Lake,” the Flathead Beacon reported.

The city of Whitefish filed the petition in August on behalf of residents who live around the lake. The city is known as the part-time home of white nationalist Richard Spencer and has dealt with racist issues. The renaming effort comes during a national reckoning over racism.

It’s not clear when Montana lake got its name; previously its name included the N-word, residents have said.

“We literally cannot find out who requested the name change or who established the (current) name,” Whitefish City Council member Frank Sweeney, who owns property on the lake, said in August. He said he has seen a printed map with the previous name.

“I don’t think there was any (racist) intent” in the current name, Sweeney said.

However, it has offended some visitors who then found a Wikipedia page that said the racial epithet was in the lake’s previous name and that its current moniker was some sort of compromise.

Photo Credit: Google

“People have taken huge offense,” Whitefish City Attorney Angela Jacobs said in August. “We’ve had several citizens, several visitors, complain to us that this information is out there. I guess whether it’s accurate or not, people are truly offended.”

Under state law, the lake’s name change will become official in January. The lake covers one-tenth of a square mile (one-quarter of a square kilometer) on the southern edge of Whitefish.

Whitefish has dealt with racism in the recent past.

A Black woman participating in a Black Lives Matter demonstration in June, following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, was confronted by a white man who yelled in her face. The confrontation, in which she lifted her sunglasses and stared him in the face, was captured on video. Samantha Francine said her late father told her to confront antagonists by looking them directly in the eye “so they know you’re human.”

Sources: OpposingViews, Daily Mail, Flathead Beacon