Years Before Charlottesville, Tribes Urged Yellowstone National Park to Change the Names of a War Criminal and a White Supremacist That Defile Sacred Land. We’re Still Waiting.

Chief Stan Grier.

“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, which represents every tribe in Montana and Wyoming, declared in a December 2014 resolution that implored federal authorities to change those names. The National Park Service and US Geological Service were and remain unmoved. On Saturday, September 16, leaders from the Blackfoot Confederacy and Great Sioux Nation will be among the tribal leaders gathering at Yellowstone’s gateway in Gardiner, Montana to repeat: Our Land. Their Shame. Change the Names.

“I was the first and last man in [the] Piegan camp January 23, 1870. Greatest slaughter of Indians ever made by U.S. Troops,” Lieutenant Gustavus Cheyney Doane wrote in his 1889 application to become superintendent of Yellowstone National Park. Today, Doane is still celebrated as “the man who discovered Wonderland” for his “pathfinding” role in the 1870 Langford-Washburn Expedition that was instrumental in Yellowstone becoming the world’s first national park, but just seven months before, on January 23, 1870, Doane led the 2nd US Cavalry in what he boasted was that “greatest slaughter of Indians ever made.”

The victims of Company F’s rampage under Doane were the Piikani (Piegan) camped with Chief Heavy Runner on the Marias or Grizzly Bear River. Essentially defenseless as…

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