Montana judge says lake’s name is racist and changes it

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A Montana judge has approved a petition by residents of Whitefish who asked that the name of 'Lost Coon Lake' (above) be changed to 'Lost Loon Lake'

Delaware Democratic Senator Chris Coons, check your messages. A judge has just officially changed the name of a Montana lake because its original name contained a “racial slur.”

Formerly known as Lost Coon Lake, a 61-acre water body near Whitefish, Mont. will now be known as Lost Loon Lake after residents petitioned to remove the former name, the Flathead Beacon reports. A Flathead County District Court judge ruled Oct. 27 to grant a petition filed by more than half of lakeshore property owners.

Judge Dan Wilson granted the Petition for Change of Watercourse Name. According to Montana statute, the secretary of state will make Lost Loon Lake’s new name official in January.

A petition on behalf of 12 of 21 property owners was filed in August, asking the court to remove the name Lost Coon Lake with its antiquated racist slur for African-Americans. The filing also noted that Lost Coon was a “compromise” name after “(N-word) Lake” was deemed too offensive in the past.

In court filings this month, Whitefish Community Library Director Joey Kositzky shared a 1964 article from the Whitefish Pilot newspaper that described how the lake was renamed Lodgepole Pond that year, and how a majority of property owners were in favor of the name change at that time.

In addition to the 21 private property owners the 61-acre lake is also adjacent to Whitefish Lake Golf Club, which had been referring to Lost Loon Lake long before the court ruling. WLGC also installed a nesting platform for loons, an aquatic bird found in Northwest Montana.

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