Tribal members support new name for sacred Black Hills peak

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

The South Dakota Board on Geographic Names heard near unanimous support for renaming a sacred peak in the Black Hills.

Harney Peak is the highest point in the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains. But tribal members have objected to the name because General William S. Harney led a massacre of the Lakota people in 1854 during the Indian wars.

"I don't want this peak to define our generation coming up," Basil Brave Heart, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe who is leading the campaign to change the name to Black Elk Peak, told the board at a hearing yesterday, the Associated Press reported.

A pilgrimage to the highest point in He Sapa (Black Hills) to welcome back the Wakinyan Oyate (Thunder Beings). Photo by Jeremy Vance / Native Sun News

Black Elk was an Oglala medicine man. The Lakota name for the peak is Hinhan Kaga, or place of owls, according to Delphine Red Shirt.

The board is holding two more meetings next week to discuss the issue. After all public comments have been received and reviewed, a recommendation will be sent to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

Get the Story:
State board takes input on proposed Harney Peak name change (AP 4/30)

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