GARDINER, Mont. — Leaders of Native American tribes gathered this weekend to urge the U.S. government to rename a valley and a mountain in Yellowstone National Park.
They say the names are associated with a man who advocated killing Native Americans and another who did just that.
The Billings Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/2fsd9jM) the tribal leaders delivered a petition Saturday to park officials noting their opposition to the names of Hayden Valley and Mount Doane.
U.S. Army Lt. Gustavus Doane participated in an 1870 massacre of 173 noncombatant Indians in Montana.
Ferdinand Hayden, whose explorations were a key element in the eventual creation of the park, called for exterminating American Indians who wouldn’t become farmers and ranchers.
Leaders of the Blackfoot Confederacy and Great Sioux Nation led a procession on horseback and on foot through the historic Roosevelt Arch to the park’s north entrance. There, they delivered the petition to the park’s deputy superintendent, Pat Kenney.
Leaders of the Blackfoot Confederacy and Great Sioux Nation will gather Saturday at Yellowstone’s North Entrance near Gardiner, Montana, tribal officials said Tuesday.
The tribes seek to change the name of Hayden Valley, a subalpine valley just north of Yellowstone Lake, to Buffalo Nations Valley. They want to change the name of Mount Doane, a 10,550-foot (3,216-meter) peak five miles east of the lake, to First People’s Mountain.
Efforts to change place names and remove monuments to controversial figures in U.S. history have gained momentum since white supremacists opposed to taking down a statute of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee clashed in August with counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Several Native American renaming efforts — some simply to erase racist terminology from maps — have been going on for years. In Wyoming, tribes seek to change Devils Tower, the name of an 870-foot (265-meter) volcanic mesa in the first U.S. national monument, to Bear Lodge.
Devils Tower is the name white settlers gave the feature. Bear Lodge is what the Lakota, Crow, Cheyenne and other tribes call the formation important if not sacred to their cultures.
The U.S. Geological Survey’s Board on Geographic Names oversees the renaming process.
Information from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com