Washington D.C. Native Nations Rise Meetings
Tribes Gather in Yellowstone
to demand names of war criminal and
white supremacist be changed in National Park.
“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 Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council (RMTLC), which represents every tribe in Montana and Wyoming, declared in a December 2014 resolution that implored federal authorities to change the names. The National Park Service and US Geological Service remained unmoved, and so, on September 16, 2017, tribal leaders representing 16 nations gathered to deliver a historic Declaration to Yellowstone National Park officials, reiterating the call for the names of the war criminal – Doane - and white supremacist who promoted the “extermination” of Native people - Hayden - be changed.
Lieutenant Gustavus Cheyney Doane, 2nd Cavalry, is celebrated as “the man who discovered Wonderland” for guiding the 1870 expedition that was instrumental in Yellowstone becoming the world’s first national park. However, seven months prior to that, on January 23, 1870, Doane led the massacre of the Piikani (Piegan) camped with Chief Heavy Runner on the Marias River.
“I was the first and last man in [the] Piegan camp January 23, 1870,” Doane wrote in his 1889 application to become superintendent of Yellowstone National Park. “Greatest slaughter of Indians ever made by U.S. Troops,” he continued. Of the 173 recorded victims, authorities admitted that only 15 were men of fighting age, the rest were elders, women and children, “none older than twelve years and many of them in their mother’s arms,” reported Indian Agent W.A. Pease. Doane subsequently ordered the Piikani prisoners to be executed with axes.
“Even after the passage of twenty-one years, Doane spoke of the massacre without shame or remorse,” explains Paul R. Wylie, author of the critically-acclaimed Blood on the Marias which details the heinous slaughter of the Piikani. “Clearly, Gustavus Cheney Doane was not worthy of having a mountain named for him, then or now, and I support the effort to have the Mount Doane name changed,” says Mr. Wylie.
Where Doane participated in genocide, Dr. Ferdinand V. Hayden advocated it. “Unless they are localized and made to enter upon agricultural and pastoral pursuits they must ultimately be exterminated,” Hayden wrote of tribal peoples in his US Geological Survey of Wyoming, published by the government in 1872. Based on Hayden’s report from his 1871 Yellowstone Expedition, Congress passed and President Grant signed into law, the Act that established Yellowstone National Park. “If extermination is the result of non-compliance, then compulsion is an act of mercy,” Hayden rationalized his advocacy for genocide.
“The lower race” is how Hayden categorized tribal people. “Equally incontestable is the pre-eminence, both intellectual and moral, of the white race, which thus forms a natural aristocracy in the truest sense of the word,” Hayden concluded in his 1883 book, North America.
Eighteen-years after General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Hayden defended slave-holding Confederate plantation owners as “chivalrous and hospitable,” and insisted, “The treatment of the negro was not barbarous, and many seemingly cruel laws were greatly needed as measures of self-protection on the part of the whites.”
TRIBAL PETITIONS FOR NAME CHANGES IN YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
Crow Creek Sioux Tribe-Yellowstone Name Change Petition
Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Association Yellowstone Names Submission
RMTLC Petition Zinke- USGS- Yellowstone Names
Northern Cheyenne Tribe Petition - USGS- Yellowstone Names
Blackfeet Nation to Secretary Zinke - Yellowstone Name Changes
Chief Grier Remarks, Sept 16 - Yellowstone Names
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