MOVE TO ‘WOKE-WASH’ MCCOWN’S LONGSPUR FAILS AT ANCHORAGE MEETING
At their annual conference that is being held in Anchorage this week, the American Ornithological Society considered whether to change the name of the McCown’s Longspur. The bird was originally named for a U.S. Army officer who joined and fought for the Confederate Army.
The name change had been proposed for consideration to the Classification Committee; the motion did not carry during the proceedings, which had several other reclassification items on the agenda. The meeting runs through June 28.
The author of the proposal, Robert Driver, argued that McCown owned slaves, fought against American Indians, and fought for the wrong side during the Civil War. He further contended that McCown name is in conflict with the society’s efforts toward inclusion and diversity.
“With the United States general public increasingly embracing our diversity and confronting public displays of the Confederacy, such as flying Confederate flags, using Confederate general street names, and maintaining statues to Confederate soldiers, it is appropriate for the AOS to address its own piece of Confederate history, John P. McCown of McCown’s Longspur. The AOS once again has an opportunity to pioneer inclusion and lead the way by changing this English name,” Driver wrote. He suggested the bird be given a Native name, but said his efforts to find one failed.