Environment | National

Chief Arvol Looking Horse still seeking name change at sacred site






A view of Mahto Tipila, or Bear Lodge, in Wyoming. Photo by National Park Service

Time is running out for President Barack Obama to recognize the Lakota name of sacred site in Wyoming.

Chief Arvol Looking Horse, a spiritual leader of the Sioux Nation, has asked the Obama administration to rename Devils Tower and Devils Tower National Monument. He wants the site to be known as Bear Lodge, or Mahto Tipila in the Lakota language.

But politicians in Wyoming oppose any changes, saying it will hurt tourism and the local economy. Looking Horse is bothered by that kind of thinking.

"It’s all about money, and that’s what we are up against in the world today when everything is based on money," Looking Horse told the Associated Press.

Last year, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, a federal entity, took public comments on Looking Horse's request but the agency won't take action while legislation is pending on Capitol Hill, the AP reported. Lawmakers from Wyoming -- including Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), the chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs -- support legislation to preserve the "Devils Tower" name.

But the Interior Department could still approve Looking Horse's petition, according to the AP, and Obama could still issue an executive order to change the name of the monument.

Read More on the Story:
Debate simmers over name of Devils Tower monument in Wyoming (AP 10/4)

Related Stories:
Chief Arvol Looking Horse pushes name change for sacred site (09/23)
Comment sought on potential change to name of Devils Tower (06/23)