- Associated Press - Friday, August 19, 2016

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - Gov. Dennis Daugaard says the state will not fight the renaming of South Dakota’s highest mountain.

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names voted earlier this month to change the name of Harney Peak for federal use to Black Elk Peak, after the revered Oglala Sioux spiritual leader. Harney Peak was named after a man whose soldiers killed Native Americans, and some found it offensive.

Daugaard criticized the renaming as rejecting local sentiment. However, he tells the Rapid City Journal (https://bit.ly/2bCP0VL ) that the state will accept the decision of the federal board, even though it’s under no legal pressure to do so.

“I don’t want the state to have one name and the feds another,” Daugaard said, “so we will make the change.”

When asked if he thinks the name change is symbolically important for Native Americans, Daugaard said, “only if they’re knowledgeable about history.”



His decision removes the final obstacle to full implementation of the new name.

Daugaard said has conferred with members of the state congressional delegation about whether the decision could be overturned, but he said he’s not willing to prioritize that task over other work.

He said he will speak with his cabinet secretaries about how to implement the change on signs, maps, websites, tourism literature and any other state-produced references.

Lakota elder Basil Brave Heart, owho proposed the name change in a September 2014 letter, was not immediately available to comment on Thursday. But earlier in the week he and other Native Americans hoped the governor would honor the name change.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, https://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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