The Corner

U of Colo. Faculty Declares Phonetic Spellings of American Indian Names ‘Culturally Chauvinist’

The University of Colorado will use the the native Arapaho spellings for its new campus dorms named after famous chiefs, after faculty members decided the anglicized spellings were culturally insensitive. Hosa Hall and Niwot Hall will become “Houusoo Hall” and “Nowoo3 Hall,” respectively, starting next semester.

The Washington Times reports that 23 members of the university’s Native Studies faculty sent a letter saying that the current versions were “culturally chauvinist and clearly primitivizing​,” even if they were easier to read for English-speakers. They compared their request to preservation of the native spelling of Spanish or French names that might be mispronunced — no one writes Charles de Gaulle as “Sharl duh Gahl​,” they argued.

Last month, the Campus Planning Commission voted to change the names starting in the spring of 2014. The university will offer a guide to pronouncing the names.

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