The Washington State Department of Natural Resources has given what locals know as “Saddle Rock” an official name: Saddle Rock
Native American legend tells of Black Bear and Grizzly Bear constantly bickering until one day Coyote turned them both to stone, forming what early pioneers and settlers referred to as “Squaw Saddle”.
DNR Communications Manager Kenny Ocker said the applicant, Wenatchee resident William Layman, initially tried to change Squaw Saddle to Saddle Rock. However, it turns out the DNR only recognized the gap in between the two rocks as Squaw Saddle, and thus the gap itself had to be renamed to Saddle Gap. The two rocks that loom above South Wenatchee were technically unnamed, so they have received the official name of Saddle Rock.
“(Layman) had actually tried to name the saddle as the rock, and it didn’t match. So they realized then that they needed to name the rock and actually rename the saddle.” Ocker explained, “It’s two different parts of the feature. They’re not independent of one another but they’re two separate features.”
Although that may seem unnecessary and a bit confusing, the move essentially removes Squaw, an offensive term for a Native American woman, as a previously accepted term for the feature.
The naming of Saddle Rock and Saddle Gap is the culmination of over a year-long effort. Those involved in the push to change the name include local residents, historians, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Yakima Nation, all three Chelan County Commissioners, Wenatchee Museum and Cultural Center, Cashmere Museum and Pioneer Village, the Chelan Douglas Land Trust, and the City of Wenatchee.