Monday, December 18, 2017

It's time to remove another war criminal's name from a national forest and a state park



The Legion Lake Fire reminds America that Custer State Park is named for a war criminal.

During the Battle of Greasy Grass George Custer attacked the encampment where the elderly, women and children were hidden and during the Washita Massacre he held a similar contingent as hostages and human shields.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says that if Confederate monuments are taken down, there’s no telling how far America might go —Native Americans could call for the removal of statues commemorating leaders who orchestrated violence against their ancestors. [Huffington Post]
After successes by tribal nations renaming geographical features in Alaska and South Dakota Yellowstone National Park could see at least two name changes.

Hayden Valley memorializes Ferdinand V. Hayden who advocated for “extermination” of tribal people and Mount Doane is named for Lieutenant Gustavus Doane who led a massacre of the Piikani, part of the Blackfoot Confederacy.

According to US Geological Survey officials the Board on Geographic Names has received no official proposal to change the names to Buffalo Nations Valley and First Peoples Mountain.

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 to Denali, an Athabascan name meaning “the high one.”

This blogger has been arguing for Lakota names on South Dakota's geological features for at least twenty years. It is the opinion of this blog now that the mountain was renamed for Nicholas Black Elk, a holy man who rejected the Roman Church, it should be in the Lakota language: loosely translated as Paha Heȟáka Sápa.

Tribal nations and pueblos in New Mexico are also mulling changes to events and geographical places that glorify Spanish colonizers.

US Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren drove thousands from their lands and to their deaths over the Trail of Tears yet Rapid City brazenly displays their likenesses in conspicuous locations downtown.

South Dakota is home to numerous sculptures that idolize genocide visited upon American Indians. Mount Rushmore is the state's premier example of racist ideology. Its sculptor was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Sturgis in Meade County is home to Fort Meade: one of the last outposts supporting the US Army's war against Native forces. Samuel Sturgis and George Meade are both known for slaughtering American Indians.

The South Dakota Board of Geographic Names spent most of their time on the proposal to change the name of Squaw Humper Dam in Oglala Lakota County. The proposed name is Tahc’a Okute Mni Onaktake, which, according to Lakota and internet sources, translates roughly as “blocking water at a place for shooting deer.”

The word 'squaw' is derived from Algonquin and Inyan Kara Peak in the Wyoming Black Hills is the bastardization of American Indian words; but, humper is simply wasicu for any man engaged in the act of copulation.

With the Oglala Lakota Nation as an interested party Chief Arvol Looking Horse has submitted a request to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names saying the words “Devils Tower” are a malapropism.

During the 2016 session South Dakota's Republican legislature voted to usurp the local control of the SD Board in favor of federal command over geographical names.

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 so they can restore its name to Mato Paha and for the US Park Service to add the name Mahto Tipila to Devils Tower National Monument.

Meanwhile, another site named for a European known for exploiting American Indians is being upgraded.

Custer’s name is on a peak in the Black Hills National Forest and should be removed. It's time to remove his name from the Custer National Forest, too.

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