Why This Yellowstone Peak's Name Is Offending Some

Native Americans want Mount Doane to be renamed
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2018 10:25 AM CDT
He Led a Massacre, Got His Name on Yellowstone Peak
Mounts Doane, left, and Stevenson, taken by photographer William Henry Jackson for the US Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories, Yellowstone Series, 1871, Vol. III.   (Wikimedia Commons)

Lt. Gustavus Doane saw it as a feather in his cap for decades to come, the Guardian reports: the January 1870 attack he led on the Blackfeet people that ended with the massacre of 173 of them, whom the AP describes as having been "noncombatant." Indeed, the Billings Gazette reports most of those present were elderly, women, or children, and many were afflicted with smallpox. Now a group of Native Americans want an honor that was bestowed on Doane to be rescinded. The Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Association is pushing to have Yellowstone's Mount Doane renamed as First Peoples Mountain, but the effort has racked up two strikes against it.

County representatives voted against the proposed change two months ago, and the county commissioner likened a name alteration to rewriting history. The US Board on Geographic Names has the final say, and its executive secretary noted that the board "places a good deal of emphasis on local opinion." It will schedule a meeting on the name change once state and federal officials have weighed in. The Guardian notes the board has previously renamed a number of places that included the word "squaw" in their name, and in 2016 it wiped William Harney's name off South Dakota's Harney Peak over his involvement in an 1855 battle in which women and children from the Brule Sioux tribe were killed. It's now called Black Elk Peak. (More name change stories.)

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