|Black Elk (1863-1950)|
Symbolic And Representative
(photo from www.bbc.uk)
Given that I know the facts regarding Harney and his behavior toward Indians in this region, I reject the "politcal correctness" stream of arguments and call it instead a concession to "common decency." You can make your own judgements about Colonel William Harney's treatment of the native population in Nebraska just south of the Black Hills . . . I call it mass murder and believe his name has no place on one of the most significant mountains in the United States.
But--at some risk of sounding crass, avaricious, mercenary and just plain greedy (all of which I probably am, lol)--I see the name change as a great boost to South Dakota's overall tourism marketing schemata. Having had interests in the tourism business sector in the Black Hills and Badlands regions for many years now, I think I know something about what sells around here, and believe me, History is perhaps our most important commodity. Known as "cultural visitation" in the trade, you can bet that marketing our culture and history is a major force in South Dakota's appeal to the millions of visitors we get out here every year. Tribal business interests are wise to this opportunity and have every reason to support this renaming.
This is why I think changing the name of the mountain from "Harney,", which, obnoxious
|Black Elk Peak?|
I Can See It
(photo from www.summitpost.org)