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Peak in Yellowstone National Park renamed First Peoples Mountain

mount doane nps.jpg
J. Schmidt
A peak in southeast Yellowstone National Park is now named First Peoples Mountain.

A peak in Yellowstone National Park named for a military leader who led an attack on a band of Piegan Blackfeet now has a new name.

The park announced Thursday that Mount Doane is now First Peoples Mountain.

The change was approved by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, which operates under the U.S. Geographic Survey.

First Peoples Mountain is a 10,551-foot peak in the southeast part of the park in Wyoming. It had been named for Gustavus Doane, who served in the Union Army during the Civil War and later was a member of the Washburn-Langford Doane expedition to Yellowstone in 1870, two years before the region was named the country’s first national park.

YNP says in 1870, Doane led an attack on a Piegan Blackfeet village, killing more than 170 people, most of them women, children, and elderly Tribal members. Piikuni Chief Heavy Runner was among those murdered.

The Montana Historical Society calls the Marias Massacre “one of the most tragic events in Montana history.”

The Blackfeet Nation has called on the park to rename the peak and Hayden Valley – named for expeditioner Ferdinand V. Hayden – since at least 2016, when the tribe’s executive committee met with YNP and requested that the names be changed. The committee requested that Hayden Valley be renamed “Buffalo People’s Valley.”

In November the Department of the Interior, under Secretary Deb Haaland, issued an order to change all derogatory federal place names, including several in Montana.

YNP says the mountain’s new name will be reflected in the Domestic Names Geographic Names Information System in the coming days. The park in a statement also says it “may consider changes to other derogatory or inappropriate names in the future.”

Nadya joined Yellowstone Public Radio as news director in October 2021. Before coming to YPR, she spent six years as digital news editor/reporter for the NPR affiliate in Wichita, Kansas, where her work earned several Kansas Association of Broadcasters awards and a regional Edward R. Murrow award for Excellence in Social Media. Originally from Texas, Nadya has lived and worked in Colorado, Illinois, Washington, D.C.; and North Dakota. She lives in Billings with her cat, Dragon, and dog, Trooper, and enjoys hiking, crocheting, and traveling as often as possible.