National Park

Yellowstone National Park changes ‘offensive’ mountain name

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, Wyo. (Gray News) – Yellowstone National Park has announced a name change for a mountain in the park named after the leader of a Native American massacre.

In a statement, the park said Mount Doane was renamed First Peoples Mountain after a unanimous vote by the US Board on Geographic Names (BGN), an organization responsible for maintaining the use of geographic names throughout the US government.

First Peoples Mountain is a 10,551-foot peak located in Yellowstone National Park, east of Yellowstone Lake in the southeastern portion of the park.

The park said the peak was previously named after Gustavus Doane, a member of the Washburn-Langford-Doane expedition in 1870, taken before Yellowstone became the nation’s first national park.

Historians say Doane led an attack in response to the alleged murder of a white fur trader earlier that year against a group of Piegan Blackfeet in what is now known as the Marias Massacre.

At least 173 Native Americans were killed, including women, smallpox-stricken children and elderly tribal members, and historians say Doane wrote about the attack with pride and bragged about it for the rest of his life.

Yellowstone National Park conducted a vote to change the mountain’s name after receiving recommendations from the Rocky Mountain Tribal Council, additional votes from the Wyoming Board of Geographic names, and with support from the National Park Service. The name was forwarded to BGN in June 2022 for a vote.

The park says the name change will appear in the Geographic Names Information System for Domestic Names (GNIS) in the near future.

The park says it also contacted the 27 associated tribes and received no opposition to the change.

Other derogatory or inappropriate names may be changed in the future, according to the park.

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