An article recently published on VTDigger explores local place names and their broader cultural significance. Last year, the owners of the ski hill known as “Suicide Six” changed its name to “Saskadena Six”, a term that means “standing mountain” in the Abenaki language. The article cites both local residents and onomastics experts, specifically our own past president Laurel Sutton. The article reads:
People create names mostly for convenience, Sutton said, describing the process as innately human. “We make up names. We make up words. We’re people — that’s what they do. But words have meaning,” she said. “There’s nothing inherent about a name that makes you have to stick with it.” Over time, people become emotionally invested in names, Sutton said, which can explain their resistance to change. When she works with companies in the midst of a name change, Sutton often finds employees upset at the idea of leaving behind an old name. Her work then becomes largely psychological. “It’s a little like family therapy,” Sutton said, describing corporate name changes.