Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Debate simmers over Devils Tower’s name

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – When President Theodore Roosevelt designated the country’s first national monument 110 years ago, the proclamation inadvertently left out a punctuation mark, and what was supposed to be Devil’s Tower became Devils Tower instead. Some say that’s not all it got wrong. According to local American Indians and others, the landmark’s name was based on an incorrect translation and is offensive given the tower’s religious significance. “It hurts us to think about such a beautiful, sacred place called Devils Tower,” said Chief Arvol Looking Horse, spiritual leader of the Great Sioux Nation. Looking Horse has petitioned the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to change the name of the huge rock butte to Bear Lodge, and has asked the Obama administration to rename the site Bear Lodge National Monument. Other locals oppose changing the name, saying it’s unnecessary and would cause confusion and hurt tourism. “The truth is, the vast majority of all of the public worldwide recognize it as a landmark, as Devils Tower; they don’t see it as an evil thing, as a bad thing,” local rancher Ogden Driskill said. Supporters hope President Barack Obama will change the name during his administration’s final months. Obama has used his administration’s executive authority to unilaterally rename other geologic features – most notably changing Mount McKinley to Denali in Alaska – and create new national monuments...more

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