Honored For This?
How could Daugaard have missed the underlying tensions regarding the name change? Seems like a lack of leadership and empathy to me. In his press release Daugaard says that the change "will cause unnecessary expense and confusion," because he "suspects that few people know the history of Harney or Black Elk." That compels the question, if more people actually knew the history of Harney, would they tolerate honoring his name by placing it on South Dakota's highest peak? Here's what the Nebraska State Historical Society has to say about Harney's actions (known as the "Harney Massacre") at an Indian village in 1855 at Blue Water Creek, south of the Black Hills: "While engaged in a delaying parley with Chief Little Thunder" Harney's troops "circled undetected" toward the village, "where the infantry opened fire and forced the Indians toward mounted soldiers, who inflicted terrible casualties. 86 Indians were killed, 70 women and children were captured, and their tipis were looted and burned."
This is the same William Harney who was called "A MONSTER !" by the Cincinnati Journal in 1834 for having beaten his female slave Hannah to death. Her oversight? Misplacing
|Black Elk Peak|
And Its Namesake
And by the way, don't tell me that we shouldn't be judging his 19th century behavior through our 21st century moral lenses. In1864, Congressional investigators called the perpetrators of the Sand Creek Massacre "foul and dastardly." I'm not a situation-ethicist, nor do I believe 19th century moral standards tolerated massacres like the one at Blue Water creek. What I do believe is that expunging Harney and replacing it with Black Elk is a matter of common decency.