Yellowstone National Park may be in for some geographical name changes at the urging of native Americans. The Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council sent the Park Service a resolution declaring, “America’s first national park should no longer have features named after the proponents and exponents of genocide, as is the case with Hayden Valley and Mount Doane.”
The council represents every tribe in Montana and Wyoming. The call for the name changes were originally issued in September of 2017. The reasons for the desire to change the names are based in Dr. Ferdinand Hayden calling for the extermination of tribal peoples unless they were made to enter upon agricultural and pastoral pursuits and calling them morally and intellectually inferior to the white race.
Lieutenant Gustavus Cheyney Doane ordered the execution of 173 men, women, children and elders with axes. Last Thursday, the Wyoming Board of Geographic Names voted 7-1 to recommend that Hayden’s name remain attached to the valley that lies north of Yellowstone Lake due to Hayden’s “significant contributions to science, geology and the survey of the Greater Yellowstone Area.” However, the board voted 6-2 to support stripping Doane’s name from Mount Doane.
The U.S. Board on Geographic Names, which has the final say, has yet to weigh in on the recommendations.