Monday, June 22, 2015

Mahto Tipila: proposal could rename Devils Tower


Imagine pulling a clan up the Little Missouri River in dugout canoes 12,000 years ago.

Exploiting the gap between the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets during the Wisconsin Glacial Episode those Clovis People were the first humans to see the Missouri Buttes and Devils Tower. They settled Paradise only to have their descendants watch it be destroyed by colonization.

With the Oglala Lakota Nation as an interested party Chief Arvol Looking Horse has submitted a request to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names saying the words “Devils Tower” are a malapropism.

The tower, a remnant of an intrusive laccolith has been called Mahto Tipila or Bear Lodge for centuries by the Lakota.
Sen. Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower, has a family ranch at the base of the tower. “If they want to find something offensive, they ought to look at Custer, South Dakota,” he said. “Custer obviously had a problem with the Sioux, and I’ve heard nothing about renaming of Custer, South Dakota.” [Laura Hancock]
In the occupied Black Hills of South Dakota descendants of European colonizers are apoplectic over the proposal to restore the state's highest point to its Lakota name, Hinhan Kaga or A Making of Owls.

The ancestors of all American Indians living east of the Rocky Mountains saw that peak when the Clovis Culture crossed into the Cheyenne/Belle Fourche drainage then into the Missouri/Mississippi River system. Lakota is an Algonquin-based tongue and is spoken by a majority of South Dakota’s tribal nations. After migrating into present-day North Carolina and forced westward by manifest destiny then acquiring horses from Spanish exploiters the Lakota reclaimed the Black Hills.

Restoring the dignity of endangered cultures is one tiny part of eliminating suicides and despair in South Dakota and Wyoming.

Senator Lisa Murkowski and the US Park Service are doing what Alaskans are asking of Congress urging the body to approve a name change for North America's highest peak.
The Athabascan name, meaning “the high one,” has been a bone of contention between Alaska’s congressional delegation and Ohio’s, which has sought to preserve the current name honoring assassinated U.S. president William McKinley. “At home in Alaska, we just call it Denali because it’s part of our history,” Murkowski said, according to the statement. “Officially changing the name from Mount McKinley to Mount Denali will show the long-standing significance that the name Denali holds for Alaskans.” [KTUU teevee]
ip (where this story is cross-posted) photo: Missouri Buttes and Devils Tower at sunset. Click on the image for a better look.

1 comment:

  1. I'm English and have a photo that I took of Mato Tapila in 2009 on my wall. It just is Bear's Lodge. The name devil tower means nothing. You can see the scratch marks of the bear up the side. The myth gives it its name. Even here in England it is Mato Tipila

    ReplyDelete

Anyone may comment but please use a handle so the blog author can respond effectively; bot verification is enabled. Thank you for visiting.