June 22, 2021

AGU endorses the Reconciliation in Places Names Act

Posted by Caitlin Bergstrom

On 22 June 2021, AGU sent a letter of endorsement to leadership in the House of Representatives and the Senate for the Reconciliation in Place Names Act. 


On behalf of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and our community of 130,000 worldwide in the Earth and space sciences, I am writing to thank you for crafting the Reconciliation in Place Names Act and offer AGU’s official endorsement for this important bill.


American place names should be equitable and just, honor America’s cultural diversity, and advance dignity for all Americans. However, many federal land units contain offensive names. Specifically, a 2015 survey using U.S. Geological Survey data found that more than 1,400 federally recognized places in every state in the nation used names containing racial slurs.  The extent of such offensive names requires a systematic and public process for renaming these places. The Reconciliation in Place Names Act will ensure that these problematic names of federal land units are reviewed and revised.


As an organization that serves a large, global community of Earth and space scientists, AGU is committed to efforts promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Many in that community are dedicated to studying natural features in the United States – from the coast to mountain peaks – and come from a diversity of backgrounds and expertise. As they carry out their important work, these dedicated professionals should not be forced to contend with offensive names that denigrate themselves and their communities.


AGU commends your efforts and looks forward to working with you to address this serious issue.