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River safety message should be obvious: Rename the Merrimack

The Merrimack River, as seen from Canterbury, N.H. Between 2010 and 2022, news media reported 31 drownings and 21 near-drownings in the Merrimack, which runs along the border between New Hampshire and Massachusetts.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

Re “A treacherous river’s tragic toll” (Page A, July 4): The sad and devastating story of drownings in the Merrimack River — in what Native Americans called the Merruasquamack, or “swift water place,” as reporter Camille Caldera notes — reminds me of but one of the consequences of the lack of understanding and respect for Indigenous cultures. Place names have meaning. If the river were currently known as Swift Water Place, that might be a deterrent, dissuading people from swimming in its unsafe waters.

Perhaps a renaming of the Merrimack would be both a tribute and a lifesaver.

Nancy F. Goldstein