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The National Park Service announced last week that Yellowstone National Park’s Mount Doane would be renamed First Peoples Mountain. 

The agency said Thursday the change was taken to remove an “offensive name” from America’s first national park.

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names voted unanimously, 15-0, affirming the decision. 

The Wyoming mountain stands at 10,551 feet east of Yellowstone Lake. 

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The mountain was previously named after explorer Gustavus Doane

Yellowstone national park sign and entrance.

Yellowstone national park sign and entrance.
(iStock)

Born in Illinois in 1840, Doane grew up in California and attended the University of the Pacific at Santa Clara before enlisting in the “California Hundred,” a federal volunteer unit absorbed by the Second Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry. 

After attaining the rank of sergeant by 1864, he resigned to accept a commission as lieutenant with the first regiment, Mississippi Marine Brigade, according to Montana State University. 

After the Civil War, Doane was appointed mayor in Yazoo City Mississippi in 1867.

A year later, he applied for a commission with the army and was appointed second lieutenant in the Second U.S. Cavalry.

First Peoples Mountain (center) rises between Top Notch Peak (foreground) and Mt. Stevenson (back right) seen from Avalanche Peak

First Peoples Mountain (center) rises between Top Notch Peak (foreground) and Mt. Stevenson (back right) seen from Avalanche Peak
(NPS / Jacob W. Frank)

For the next 24 years, Doane served with the regiment, attaining the rank of captain in 1884. 

He had been stationed at frontier posts in Montana, California and Arizona during his postwar career. 

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He participated in the Sioux war of 1876, the Nez Pearce War of 1877 and the Apache campaign of 1886. 

Doane also led the first official exploration of present-day Yellowstone National Park, the Langford-Washburn expedition of 1870.

Towards the end of his life, Doane unsuccessfully attempted to gain the superintendency of Yellowstone National Park and influence widespread army acceptance for his invention, the Doane Centennial Tent. 

He died on May 5, 1892.

The National Park Service said that in 1870, Doane led an attack on a band of Piegan Blackfeet in response to the alleged murder of a White fur trader.

“During what is now known as the Marias Massacre, at least 173 American Indians were killed, including many women, elderly Tribal members and children suffering from smallpox. Doane wrote fondly about this attack and bragged about it for the rest of his life,” the agency wrote. 

The name was forwarded to the Board on Geographic Names in June 2022, based on recommendations from the Rocky Mountain Tribal Council.

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Yellowstone National Park reached out to all 27 associated Tribes over the last several months and received no oppositions or concerns regarding the change.

The name change will be reflected in The Domestic Names Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) in coming days.

The park said it may consider additional changes to other “derogatory or inappropriate names in the future.”



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