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Yellowstone Peak Renamed After Old Name Deemed 'Offensive'

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Yellowstone Peak Renamed After Old Name Deemed 'Offensive'

A mountain peak in Yellowstone National Park has been renamed due to the controversial history behind its original title.

News of the name-change was announced by the United States' National Park Service (NPS) last week as part of the 150th anniversary of Yellowstone, which is located mostly in Wyoming but also spreads to parts of Montana and Idaho.

The park features a number of peaks, with Mount Doane, as it was formerly named, one of its highest at 10,551 feet.

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The US Board on Geographic Names took a vote on the decision to change the name after research into its origins revealed 'Mount Doane' had come from a man who had helped lead a massacre against local tribes.

Yellowstone National Park is celebrating 150 years. Credit: Shutterstock
Yellowstone National Park is celebrating 150 years. Credit: Shutterstock

Gustavus Doane was born in 1840 and grew up in California before helping to lead the Washburn-Langford-Doane expedition, which ultimately led to Yellowstone getting federal protection.

However, historians recently uncovered Doane's role in an attack on a band of the Piegan Blackfeet, which became known as the Marias Massacre. At least 173 Native Americans were killed as a result, 'including many women, elderly Tribal members and children suffering from smallpox'.

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Doane carried out the attack over the killing of a white fur trader, and the NPS revealed Doane later appeared to have written favourably about the attack, and even bragged about it.

In light of the findings, the NPS decided to rename the mountain First Peoples Mountain in a bid to better honour the roles and contributions of Native Americans.

The name was passed on to the Board on Geographic Names in June 2022 following recommendations from the Rocky Mountain Tribal Council, and Yellowstone said it received no oppositions or concerns after reaching out to all 27 associated Tribes.

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William Snell, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council and part of the group that helped advise federal officials on the name change, described the decision as a 'victory' to NPR.

"Is history being rewritten and retold truthfully? I hope so," he said.

The name change will be reflected in The Domestic Names Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) in the coming days, and park officials in Yellowstone have said they may consider more changes to 'derogatory or inappropriate'

geographical names in the future.

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Yellowstone will be celebrating its 150th anniversary throughout March-August this year, when the park and its partners will 'reflect on 150 years of protecting Yellowstone National Park, highlight successes in the ecosystem, and open dialogue on the lessons learned from yesterday, the challenges of today, and a vision for tomorrow,' the NPS explains.

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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: News, US News, Racism

Emily Brown
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