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The National Park Service announced it would be changing the name of Mount Doane in Yellowstone National Park to the First Peoples Mountain.
The move, the agency announced, was to remove an “offensive” name from America’s first national park.
The mountain derived its name from Gustavus Doane, who was a decorated military veteran, serving in three wars — the Sioux war of 1876, the Nez Pearce War of 1877, and the Apache campaign of 1886 — but has a tarnished reputation because of his involvement in a massacre that killed hundreds of indigenous people.
In 1870, Doane led an attack on a group of Piegan Blackfeet, with the vengeful attack inspired by the supposed murder of a White Fur trader.
Doane, who was born in 1840, would have been 30-years-old at the time of the massacre, having been appointed mayor of Yazoo City, Mississippi, three years earlier, following the Civil War.
In its statement announcing the name change, the agency said, “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.”
Before changing the name, Yellowstone contacted all 27 associated Tribes, receiving no opposition or concerns regarding the changing name.
The agency also indicated Mount Doane was only the first name it would be changing because of its “offensive” links, stating that it would look into “derogatory or inappropriate names in the future.”