Racism in Geography – A Case Study and Speculations

By Nathan Barton

Warning: Massive rant ahead! Maybe even a tirade.

Government destroys everything it touches: makes it worse and worse until at last, there is nothing (worthwhile) left.

Last week, in the news in South Dakota, we found that the FedGov has arbitrarily (but with “due process”) again renamed an important geographic feature. Harney Peak, the highest mountain in the Black Hills (which are really mountains) and South Dakota, named for a prominent Union General who was an important military commander in the Indian Wars, has been renamed. Its new name is “Black Elk,” a well-known Lakota spiritual leader revered by both many Lakota and by New Age types for his visions and his writings. The wilderness area inside Black Hills National Forest around Harney Peak also honors Black Elk, and is located within the Peter Norbeck Wildlife Preserve (named for a South Dakota governor who established Custer State Park and created the Black Hills tourist industry). The reason given for the renaming is that Harney was a murdering racist who massacred Lakota and other AmerInd people, a warmonger, and just a dirty old dead white guy, and naming the peak for a traditional Lakota mystic would “heal” Lakota people.

The news about Harney Peak is distressing: it has PUT racism on the map.  (As one friend noted, “Actually, didn’t changing the name of Shannon County to Oglala Lakota County start this?” (In 2015, voters in Shannon County, the major part of the Oglala Lakota Nation’s reservation, voted to change the name of the County to match the tribe’s name: Shannon was a South Dakota senator.))  This is different, to my way of thinking, even from changing a name from “Squaw” this or that or even “N*****” this or that. And even to changing the County name. And the fallout is not going to end. Obviously we must rename Custer Peak and Warren Peak and Crook’s Tower and a dozen others.  And that is just in the Black Hills.  We must also rename Pikes Peak and Longs Peak and dozens more in Colorado, all of them named for soldiers, all of whom killed AmerInds.

And then we have to start renaming the towns.  Starting with Harney itself, of course, and Custer City (ESPECIALLY CUSTER CITY!) and Sturgis (anOTHER Injun-killer) and Crook City (both of them!) and on and on.  Of course, we should also get rid of all references to militarism. No more Fort Thompson or Fort Pierre or Fort Collins or Fort Morgan: reminders of evil.  And then we can start on the other Counties (Custer, Meade, Grant, etc.  And did you know that Haakon was named for a KING!  Evil tyrant white-ruling-class monarch! Filthy aristo!) and then the streets.

As for Black Elk.  Obviously, I never knew him, but I knew Ben (one of his sons), briefly.  If we MUST get rid of Harney Peak, why not go back to the Lakota Name “Hinhan Kaga Paha”?  Black Elk was after all, a false prophet, if nothing else.  And a religious leader. In an era where we must remove religious symbols and even names (now THERE is a fertile field for renaming things!), how can the FedGov justify doing this?

Oh and by the way, we need to also go ahead and demolish Mount Rushmore: Washington was an Injun-killer too: the French and Indian War, right?  And even good ole Honest Abe was an Injun-fighter: he served in the Black Hawk War in Illinois.  Jefferson stole the Lakota (and others’) land when he illicitly bought the Louisiana Territory from the French.  And if I’m not mistaken, even TR fought Indians a time or two, and established his ranch near Medora on STOLEN Lakota land (or was it Mandan, or Arikara?).

But funny, huh?  The Lakota stole the Hills and the land around it from the Cheyenne, or so the histories say. Before they made nicey-nicey in 1776 or so. And maybe drove the Crow out, as well. And let us not forget what the Lakota did to the people that lived along the Missouri and the James.  Where is the healing for the Arikara and Mandan and Hidatsa and Omaha who were wantonly attacked and nearly wiped out, driven from their lands and villages by the unprovoked aggression of the Saone Lakota?  And now forced to live in States with the name of their ancient enemies?
Sigh…

What authority does government have to do things like this? NONE AT ALL THAT I CAN FIND. For those who believe in the Constitution (however foolish that is), the Tenth Amendment is clear: the powers not given to Congress – NOT some unelected board of bureaucrats! – are reserved for the STATES or the PEOPLE themselves. For the rest of us, not even the Theocracy of Israel under God was given such powers. Yeah, yeah, it is a minor thing, Nathan, you say. Just ONE MORE WAY for government to make life miserable. And let us talk of such things as Leningrad and Stalingrad and Ho Chi Minh City and similar incidents in history. Morally and ethically, government has NO legitimate power to do this – or anything else.

Enough is enough.

About tpolnathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (christian), Pahasapan, Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer.
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