Yellowstone renames mountain linked to Native American massacre | Native Americans

Yellowstone National Park has renamed the peak that was once known as Mount Doane to First Peoples Mountain, in a move to strip the famed wilderness of an ‘offensive name’ referring to the murders of nearly 200 Native Americans, officials said. responsible.

In a June 9 announcement, National Park Service officials also said they may consider similar name changes in the future.

The 10,551-foot mountain is named after Gustavus Doane, a captain in the United States Army. Doane was a “key member” of an 1870 expedition before Yellowstone became the nation’s first national park, authorities said.

But earlier in the same year of the expedition, Doane led an attack on a band of Piegan Blackfeet in retaliation for the alleged murder of a white furrier. That assault, now known as the Marias Massacre, resulted in the deaths of at least 173 Native Americans, authorities said.

Among the victims were many women, elderly people and children who contracted smallpox. “Doane wrote fondly of this attack and bragged about it for the rest of his life,” the National Park Service said.

The new First Peoples name was “based on recommendations from the Rocky Mountain Tribal Council, subsequent votes within the Wyoming Board of Geographic names, and [support] of the National Park Service,” officials added. These entities finally submitted this name to the US Board on Geographic Names this month.

That council, which is charged with maintaining uniformity in the use of geographic names across the federal government, voted 15-0 to affirm the name change, officials said. Yellowstone recently reached out to all 27 tribes associated with the park and “received no opposition to the change or any concerns.”

“Yellowstone may consider changing other derogatory or inappropriate names in the future,” officials also said in their announcement.

The name change comes as the US Department of the Interior steps up efforts to rename hundreds of geographic features deemed to have offensive titles. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary, issued an order in November 2021 officially declaring “squaw” to be a “derogatory” word.

Haaland’s order required the Geographic Names Board to come up with a process to remove that word from federal use. The ministry in February this year released a list of potential replacement names for more than 660 geographic sites that included the word.

She also issued an order that created a federal advisory committee “to solicit, consider and broadly recommend changes to other geographic names and derogatory federal land units.”

“Words matter, especially in our work to make our nation’s public lands and waters accessible and welcoming to people of all backgrounds,” Haaland said. “Reviewing these replacements is a big step forward in our efforts to remove derogatory terms with long overdue expiration dates.”

The renaming of geographic formations comes amid a push to remove Confederate symbols across the United States following the May 2020 killing of George Floyd. More than 200 Confederate monuments and memorials have been renamed, removed or displaced, according to the New York Times.

Nohemi M. Moore