Wednesday, April 17, 2024

National Park Renames Famous Mountain Following Offense Controversy

Yellowstone National Park, renowned for its natural beauty and diverse wildlife, recently announced the renaming of a prominent mountain within its boundaries. Mount Doane, named after a United States Army officer involved in a deadly massacre of Native Americans, has been renamed First Peoples Mountain.

The decision to rename the mountain came after years of advocacy from Native American tribes and unanimous approval from the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. Originally named after Gustavus Cheyney Doane, who led an attack on the Piegan Blackfeet tribe in 1870, the mountain’s former name commemorated a dark chapter in American history.

The massacre, known as the Marias Massacre, occurred after the Civil War and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent Native Americans, including women, children, and elders. Doane, who later boasted about his role in the massacre, was never held accountable for his actions.

The renaming of Mount Doane to First Peoples Mountain reflects a broader effort to acknowledge and honor the Indigenous peoples who have long inhabited the lands now encompassed by Yellowstone National Park. Native American tribes, including the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association and the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council, had been advocating for the name change since 2018.

“We’re not against certain names. But we’re not for names where individuals have been involved with genocide,” said William Snell, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council, in 2018.

The new name, First Peoples Mountain, is seen as a step toward recognizing the history and culture of Native American tribes in the region. Piikani Nation Chief Stan Grier expressed his support for the change, stating, “This name change is long overdue. We all agreed on ‘First Peoples’ Mountain’ as an appropriate name to honor the victims of such inhumane acts of genocide and to also remind people of the 10,000-year-plus connection tribal peoples have to this sacred place now called Yellowstone.”

The renaming of Mount Doane is part of a larger effort to acknowledge and address the history of violence and displacement that Native American tribes have experienced. By renaming the mountain to First Peoples Mountain, Yellowstone National Park aims to create a more inclusive and respectful environment for all visitors.

The decision to rename Mount Doane to First Peoples Mountain has been met with support from Native American tribes and advocates. It serves as a reminder of the importance of recognizing and honoring Indigenous history and culture in national parks and other public spaces.

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