Yellowstone National Park announced yesterday that Mount Doane is now named First Peoples Mountain. The announcement follows a 15-0 vote affirming the change by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN), the federal body responsible for maintaining uniform geographic name usage throughout the federal government.
First Peoples Mountain is a 10,551-foot peak within Yellowstone National Park east of Yellowstone Lake in the southeastern portion of the park. The peak was previously named after Gustavus Doane, a key member of the Washburn-Langford-Doane expedition in 1870 prior to Yellowstone becoming America’s first national park.
Research has shown that earlier that same year (1870), Doane led an attack, in response to the alleged murder of a white fur trader, on a band of Piegan Blackfeet. During what is now known as the Marias Massacre, at least 173 American Indians were killed, including many women, elderly Tribal members, and children suffering from smallpox. Doane wrote fondly about this attack and bragged about it for the rest of his life.
Based on recommendations from the Rocky Mountain Tribal Council, subsequent votes within the Wyoming Board of Geographic names, and with support of the National Park Service, the name was forwarded to the BGN for a vote in June 2022. The name change will be reflected in The Domestic Names Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) in the coming days.
Yellowstone conducted outreach to all 27 associated Tribes over the past several months and received no opposition to the change or concerns.
Yellowstone may consider changes to other derogatory or inappropriate names in the future.
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