Ne­vada panel picks new name for peak

Board chooses ‘Doso Doy­abi’ to re­place ‘Jeff Davis’ on moun­tain top

The Progress-Index - - OBITUARIES -

RENO, Nev. — A state board wants to change the name of a moun­tain peak in eastern Ne­vada’s Great Basin Na­tional Park to more ap­pro­pri­ately rec­og­nize a ge­o­log­i­cal area im­por­tant to a na­tive tribe in­stead of hon­or­ing the pres­i­dent of the Con­fed­er­acy dur­ing the Civil War.

The Ne­vada Board of Geo­graphic Names voted unan­i­mously Tues­day to rec­om­mend to a fed­eral panel in charge of mak­ing such de­ci­sions that the name of Jeff Davis Peak be changed to the Shoshone name “Doso Doy­abi.”

The phrase — pro­nounced “DOH-soh doy-AH-bee” — means “white moun­tain” in the na­tive di­alect.

Tribal el­ders say it’s a ref­er­ence to the fact the sum­mit of the 12,771foot (3,830-meter) moun­tain near the Utah line was cov­ered in snow year-round.

Sup­port for a name change first emerged in 2017 dur­ing a push to re­move Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ments in var­i­ous lo­ca­tions across the coun­try.

Chris­tine K. John­son, the col­lec­tion man­ager for the Ne­vada His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety who serves as a non-vot­ing mem­ber on the state board, says the name ap­proved Tues­day was sup­ported by the Duck­wa­ter Shoshone Tribe as well as mem­bers of other area tribes. She said a for­mal ap­pli­ca­tion for the name change will be for­warded to the U.S. Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey’s Board on Geo­graphic Names.

Tribal mem­ber War­ren Gra­ham said in a let­ter on be­half of the Duck­wa­ter Shoshone El­ders Com­mit­tee that re­in­stat­ing the moun­tain’s orig­i­nal name would honor their cul­tural her­itage.

“These places were called some­thing else be­fore they were re­named,” by EuroAmer­i­can set­tlers, Gra­ham said. “Some of these names are dis­ap­pear­ing along with our el­ders and it is good that these names are not for­got­ten.”

Jeff Davis Peak is about 240 miles (385 kilo­me­ters) south­west Salt Lake City. Davis’ name orig­i­nally graced a neigh­bor­ing moun­tain now known as Wheeler Peak, Ne­vada’s sec­ond high­est point.

Dur­ing a sur­vey in 1855, Lt. Col. Ed­ward Step­toe of the U.S. Army Corps named the peak af­ter his boss, then-U.S. Sec­re­tary of War Jef­fer­son Davis, who later be­came the pres­i­dent of the Con­fed­er­ate States of Amer­ica. Wheeler Peak got its per­ma­nent name af­ter Ge­orge Mon­tague Wheeler scaled the moun­tain in 1869, and the neigh­bor­ing peak then be­came Jeff Davis.

[HENRY BREAN/LAS VE­GAS RE­VIEW-JOUR­NAL VIA AP]

In this un­dated photo, Jeff Davis Peak, left, and Wheeler Peak re­flect in the wa­ters of Stella Lake at Great Basin Na­tional Park in eastern Ne­vada. With fed­eral ap­proval, the Con­fed­er­ate pres­i­dent’s name could soon be re­moved and the sum­mit re­named Doso Doy­abi, a Shoshone phrase mean­ing White Moun­tain.

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