Richard Iron Cloud: Remove murderer's name from sacred peak

A view of Harney Peak in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Photo from BHrock / Wikipedia

Richard Iron Cloud, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, explains why people should refer to Harney Peak in the Black Hills of South Dakota by its Lakota name, Inyan Kaga:
I stand in solidarity with esteemed Lakota Elder and Korean War combat veteran Basil Brave Heart who points out the highest peak in He Sapa (Black Hills) is named after a general who massacred Sioux women and children. I stand with Brave Heart in favor of changing the name of Harney Peak. In his editorial titled “What’s in a Name?” Charles Trimble said Inyan Kaga is the peak that Oglala holy man Black Elk referred to as the “center of the world,” and to rename it after such a man as Harney adds insult to the stealing of the sacred He Sapa.

Trimble posed the question: why was the Lakota name of Inyan Kaga changed to Harney Peak? It was, after all, Gen. William S. Harney who led the punitive campaign of 1855 against the Sioux in retribution for the annihilation of Lt. John Grattan and his troops. It was Grattan who provoked the attack by firing on the Lakota over the so-called Mormon cow incident. Harney’s most famous “battle” in that campaign was at Blue Water Creek, which actually was a massacre that rivals Wounded Knee in its senseless brutality.

Gen. Harney was described as an arrogant, abusive and bare-knuckled murderer, according to historian George R. Adams who wrote his doctoral dissertation on the famous Indian fighter. The dissertation later evolved into a 286-page scholarly biography called "General William S. Harney, Prince of Dragoons," published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2001. According to Adams, Harney was an imperialist and a firm believer in Manifest Destiny, the notion that the settlers were destined by God to conquer the continent. Harney should be remembered for his quick temper, foul mouth, violent nature, vindictive bent and callous behavior, and for abusing soldiers and committing murder.

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Richard Iron Cloud: Take Murderer's Name Off He Sapa (Indian Country Today 3/25)

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Charles Trimble: Rename peak in Black Hills for Oglala holy man (9/23)

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