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Pileated woodpecker at the Audubon Society of Portland Wildlife Sanctuary Trails (Portland, Oregon - November 2nd, 2018)(CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 photo by Corey Seeman via flickr)
Associated Press
Published: 08 February 2024

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland Audubon has changed its name to the “Bird Alliance of Oregon,” in the latest example of a local chapter to do so because of John James Audubon’s views on slavery and his desecration of Native American graves.

The organization shared its decision Tuesday after soliciting community feedback in the past year on a new name, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

“Our adoption of a new name is one of many steps in our years-long equity journey to create a more welcoming place,” said Stuart Wells, executive director of the Bird Alliance of Oregon.

The National Audubon Society, the nonprofit dedicated to protecting birds and their habitats, took its original name from Audubon, an American artist, adventurer and naturalist best known for his stunning watercolors of American birds.

But Audubon was also a slaveholder who opposed abolition and desecrated the graves of Native Americans, a legacy which still causes harm today, Wells said.

Other local chapters, including those in Seattle, Chicago and Detroit have also changed their names, citing the same reasons.

The National Audubon Society, however, has decided to retain the Audubon name and instead spend $25 million on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

The American Ornithological Society said in November that birds in North America will no longer be named after people because some bird names have associations with the past that continue to be exclusionary and harmful.

The organization said this year it would start renaming approximately 80 bird species found in the U.S. and Canada.

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