Mount Doane in Yellowstone National Park. Photo: J. Schmidt / Yellowstone National Park
Environment | National

Tribes stage protest at Yellowstone to target place names of genocidal figures

Tribes in the United States and First Nations in Canada are calling for place name changes at Yellowstone National Park.

Mount Doane is named for Gustavus Cheyney Doane, who played a prominent role in the first major U.S. expedition to Yellowstone. But as a leader in the U.S. Army Cavalry, he participated in a massacre of a Blackfoot Confederacy camp in present-day Montana in 1870, according to the Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography.

"Essentially defenseless as the able-bodied among the smallpox infected village were absent seeking sustenance for the sick, Doane’s berserkers fell upon the sleeping families as the first shards of the day revealed the lodges nestled in the trees on the Big Bend of the Marias. Chief Heavy Runner was the first to die, shot in cold blood," Chief Stan Grier of the Piikani Nation wrote in Counterpunch on Tuesday. The Piikani Nation is part of the historic Blackfoot Confederacy, which includes the Blackfeet Nation in the U.S. and First Nations in Canada.

Hayden Valley is named for Ferdinand V. Hayden, a scientist who called for the "extermination" of Indian nations, Chairman Brandon Sazue of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe placed him in a category of "white supremacists" in a story published in Native News Online.

Tribes and First Nations want Mount Doane to be renamed First People’s Mountain, The Associated Press reported. Hayden Valley could be named Buffalo Nations Valley.

The Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council, which represents all tribes in Montana and Wyoming, has been calling for the name changes since December 2014, WyoFile reported. Yellowstone has told the tribes to go through the U.S. Geological Survey’s Board on Geographic Names to seek changes, the AP said.

Tribal leaders and citizens will gather at the Arch Park near Yellowstone's north entrance on Saturday afternoon to push for the name changes.

Read More on the Story:
Tribes Gathering in Yellowstone to Demand Names of War Criminal & White Supremacist be Changed in National Park (Native News Online September 10, 2017)
Tribes plan protest to change Yellowstone valley, peak names (The Associated Press September 12, 2017)
Tribes call for renaming valley and mountain in Yellowstone (KGWN September 12, 2017)