A 10,551-foot mountain east of Yellowstone Lake has a new name, replacing one for a key member of an 1870 expedition to the area who had also led a raid against a tribe of Peigan Blackfeet that resulted in at least 173 deaths.
Yellowstone National Park announced last week that Mount Doane is now First Peoples Mountain. The announcement followed a 15-0 vote affirming the change by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, the federal body responsible for maintaining uniform geographic name usage throughout the federal government.
First Peoples Mountain is in the southeastern portion of the park. The peak was previously named after Gustavas Doane, a key member of the Washburn-Langford-Doane expedition in 1870 prior to Yellowstone becoming America’s first national park.
According to the park release, research shows that earlier in the same year, Doane led an attack, in response to the alleged murder of a white fur trader, on a band of Peigan 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 about this attack and bragged about it for the rest of his life, the release states.
Based on recommendations from the Rocky Mountain Tribal Council and subsequent votes within the Wyoming Board of Geographic Names, along with support from the National Park Service, the proposal came before the BGN for a vote in June. The name change will be reflected in The Domestic Names Geographic Names Information System.
Yellowstone conducted outreach to all 27 tribes associated with the park over the past several months and received no opposition to the change or concerns about it.
According to the release, Yellowstone may consider changes to other derogatory or inappropriate names in the future.
The change comes during the park’s 150th anniversary, which park superintendent Cam Sholly said features an emphasis on the tribes that inhabited the area for centuries prior to Yellowstone’s founding.
The vote followed a failed attempt to rename of a mountain outside the park. A proposal to change the mountain known as Red Mountain along the Chief Joseph Highway to Mount Pollack in honor of the painter born in Cody was killed after the Park County commissioners reversed course and pulled support after hearing objections from the rancher who owns the land where the mountain is located.