Maine officials are reviewing the state’s registry of islands after it was discovered that five privately owned islands had names that contained racial slurs, the Portland Press Herald reports.
The official registry of islands was removed from the state website on Wednesday in response to an inquiry from the Press Herald about the island names, which were in use and listed by the state despite decades-old statutes banning the terms, according to the newspaper.
Three of the island names contained the N-word and two others incorporated a slur against Native American women, the Press Herald reports. The state banned the slurs in 1977 and 2001, respectively, and one of the offensively named pieces of land is a small island southeast of Mill Island in Arrowsic, according to the publication.
Amanda Beal, commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, told the newspaper in a statement that racist or offensive names have “no place in the State of Maine.”
“The Department has temporarily removed the CIG to review the accuracy of the names and work with relevant parties to update any that should have been corrected long ago,” she wrote.
“Our feeling is that every property owner should want to act because it’s the right thing to do,” she added, according to the Press-Herald. “We will bring any racist or offensive names to the attention of municipalities and other landowners, and work to ensure that changes are made.”
According to the state, there are about 1,846 islands registered to private owners and 204 islands that are exempt from registering with the state because they contain four or more structures. Another 1,322 islands are under the care and “custody” of the state.
Press-Herald reporter Colin Woodard told NECN he received a tip from a reader about the offensive island names.