Name of former Mississippi mayor stripped from mountain in nation’s first national park

Published 12:31 pm Friday, June 17, 2022

A mountain in America’s first national park will no longer be named for a former Mississippi mayor who played a prominent role in the exploration of the park.

Yellowstone National Park announced that Mount Doane will no longer be named for Gustavus Doane is now named First Peoples Mountain.

The announcement by the park follows a 15-0 vote affirming the change by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN), the federal body responsible for maintaining uniform geographic name usage throughout the federal government.

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First Peoples Mountain is a 10,551-foot peak within Yellowstone National Park east of Yellowstone Lake in the southeastern portion of the park.

The peak was previously named after Doane, a key member of the Washburn-Langford-Doane expedition in 1870 prior to Yellowstone becoming America’s first national park.

Research indicates that earlier in 1870, Doane led an attack, in response to the alleged murder of a white fur trader, on a band of Piegan Blackfeet. 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.

In 1867, Doane became the Justice of the Peace and Mayor of Yazoo City for a short period of time. Doane left Mississippi in May 1868 for Illinois.

Based on recommendations from the Rocky Mountain Tribal Council, subsequent votes within the Wyoming Board of Geographic names, and with support of the National Park Service, the name was forwarded to the BGN for a vote in June 2022. The name change will be reflected in The Domestic Names Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) in the coming days.

Yellowstone conducted outreach to all 27 associated Tribes over the past several months and received no opposition to the change nor concerns.

Yellowstone may consider changes to other derogatory or inappropriate names in the future.