Friday, March 20, 2015

Comments on Black Elk Peak sought

Harney Peak is not South Dakota's highest natural point, Odakota Mountain is. It is not the highest US point east of the Rocky Mountains, either: Guadalupe Peak in Texas is.
Written comments on a proposal to change the name of Harney Peak to Black Elk Peak are being taken until May 1 by the South Dakota Board on Geographic Names. Comments should be submitted to: SD Board on Geographic Names, Department of Tribal Relations, 302 East Dakota, Pierre, SD 57501. Comments can be faxed to 773-6592, or emailed to David.Reiss@state.sd.us. [Rapid City Journal]
The tower erected on top of a mal-named feature in The Hills That Are Black making it the state's tallest geomorph was just more scorn heaped on the Lakota People.
A Native American man says the name of South Dakota’s tallest mountain is offensive and should be changed. Basil Brave Heart, who is from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and describes himself as an Oglala Lakota elder, wants the name Harney Peak changed to Black Elk Peak. Brave Heart’s motivation is Harney’s role in the 1855 Battle of Ash Hollow, also known as the Battle of Blue Water Creek, which occurred in present-day Nebraska during a period called the First Sioux War. 
A force of 600 soldiers under Harney’s command attacked 250 Sioux and killed 86 of them, including some women and children. The same Lt. Warren who later named South Dakota’s highest point for Gen. Harney wrote about the battle in a journal. “The sight on the top of the hill was heart rending — wounded women and children crying and moaning, horribly mangled by the bullets,” Warren wrote, in part. “Wars carry a shadow,” Brave Heart said, “and the U.S. is carrying a shadow for all the atrocities it committed.” Jay Vogt, a member of the board and the director of the South Dakota State Historical Society, said any interested party could formally apply to change the name of Harney Peak. [excerpt, from Seth Tupper, Rapid City Journal]
This blog has hammered on the absence of Lakota in South Dakota high schools and on language equivalents for geographical features on SDDoT highway maps. If they had had any balls, Black Hills Badlands and Lakes would have listened to me in 2005 and co-name every geographical feature on its hand-out map with its Lakota equivalent.
Journals, expeditionary reports, and newspaper accounts from Harney‟s exploration
of the Hills in 1857, Raynold‟s in 1859, Custer‟s in 1874, and Jenney‟s in 1875 not only contain Lakota names for places now widely regarded as sacred, but some of them also include specific references to the spiritual activity connected with these places. [National Park Service]
Democratic state representative, Kevin Killer, led efforts to change an offensive county name. Killer was recently named a Bush Fellow.

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