Friday, June 12, 2015

Alaska peak's name change foreshadows Black Hills place of owls

Senator Lisa Murkowski and the US Park Service are doing what Alaskans are asking of Congress urging the body to approve a name change for North America's highest peak.
The Athabascan name, meaning “the high one,” has been a bone of contention between Alaska’s congressional delegation and Ohio’s, which has sought to preserve the current name honoring assassinated U.S. president William McKinley. “At home in Alaska, we just call it Denali because it’s part of our history,” Murkowski said, according to the statement. “Officially changing the name from Mount McKinley to Mount Denali will show the long-standing significance that the name Denali holds for Alaskans.” [KTUU teevee]
But in the occupied Black Hills of South Dakota descendants of European colonizers are apoplectic over the proposal to restore the state's highest point to its Lakota name, Hinhan Kaga or Place of Owls.
The name of South Dakota’s tallest mountain should be changed from Harney Peak to “Hinhan Kaga,” the state Board of Geographic Names recommended by unanimous vote Thursday in Pierre. The state board, which met in the Becker-Hansen Building Commission Room, needed only 30 minutes to make its recommendation. The relatively quick decision followed the receipt of hundreds of written comments in recent weeks and five public hearings across the state since April 28 at which dozens of people testified. [Rapid City Journal]
The mountain was made taller than South Dakota's highest natural point, Odakota Mountain, by white people with concrete and stone. It is not the highest US point east of the Rocky Mountains, either: Guadalupe Peak in Texas is.

Revisionist history turned the Wounded Knee Massacre into a battle where soldiers were awarded medals of honor then a peak or town in the Black Hills and a national forest were named after a murderer like George Armstrong Custer. Crook City near Whitewood and Crook's Tower, one of the 7000 footers in the Black Hills, were named after a war criminal.

This blogger has been arguing for Lakota names on South Dakota's geological features for at least twenty years.

It's time for the State of South Dakota to abandon Bear Butte State Park that it claimed through colonization and remand it to the tribes for governance.

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