Sunday, May 15, 2022

National Park Names Offensive, Researchers Say


It should come as no surprise that a group of professors and researchers recently identified 960 places within 16 of America’s 62 national parks that contain “racist” names that promote “white supremacy,” “racism,” “settler colonialism” or “anti-Indigenous ideologies,” according to an article in the online journal People and Nature.

The article states that the research team “examined the origins of over 2,200 place names in 16 national parks in the United States” and found all of the locations “have place names that tacitly endorse racist or, more specifically, anti-Indigenous ideologies.” 

The team helpfully split the offensive place names into categories, including those that allegedly support white supremacy, those that were the work of white urban power elites, those that appropriate indigenous language, those that replace an indigenous place name with a colonizer name, and, of course, those heinously offensive “neutral-seeming” names, such as “Crater Peak.”

Of the 960 “offensive” names, 254 supposedly supported white supremacy, while 214 were accused of appropriating indigenous language. On the other hand, researchers claimed that 205 of the names were offensive because they replaced an Indigenous place name with a colonizer name. So, if a place was named using an indigenous term it is was considered offensive appropriation, and if an indigenous term was replaced by a non-indigenous term it was offensive substitution? Talk about damned if you do and damned if you don’t!

Incredibly, the researchers determined that 324 place names were offensive due to their “neutral-seeming” names. Huh? The study stated: “Seemingly innocuous names, and names of forgotten or obscure individuals are perhaps just as pernicious as names for outright racist or violent individuals. Neutral-seeming settler names build a white-normative culture in the place.” The article noted that these names “perpetuate the invisibility of Indigenous people on landscapes” and also “demonstrate that settlers have the power to suppress deep Indigenous knowledge with relatively shallow Eurocentric names.” Indigenous people are “deep” whereas the newer (Eurocentric) migrants are “relatively shallow?” That’s funny, as it’s just the opposite of what progressives/academics think today, which is that most long-time American citizens, particularly in flyover country, are ignorant cultureless rubes while immigrants, legal and illegal, enrich us beyond measure.

“Roy’s Peak,” in Texas’ Big Bend National park, was deemed to support white supremacy, and was cited as an example of names that somehow “erase Indigenous knowledge.”

              The obviously offensive “Yellowstone National Park” was determined to be “the work of white urban power elites,” including Teddy Roosevelt. This is ironic, as the former progressive president is widely considered to be the original champion of the National Park Service. Moreover, he greatly expanded the national parks and loved nothing more than to be out in the wilds.


The researchers noted that “white hegemonic symbols embedded in parks can contribute to a perception that white people are the primary stewards and knowledge keepers of nature” and, as a result, can make racial minorities feel uncomfortable and excluded. They added, “Black people are 13% of the US population yet they are only 1% of US national park visitors, while white people are 76% of the US population and 96% of visitors.” And racism and white supremacy are the only possible reasons for that, right?

The silly study concludes that, if the aforementioned places were renamed, supposedly marginalized groups would magically become empowered, and would flock to the national parks in droves.

Sounds logical. So let’s rename “Yellowstone Park.” Let’s rename “Crater Peak.” And let’s rename “Roy’s Peak.” (Surely “LeRoy’s Peak” would be a better draw for Black folks.) In fact, let’s rename every place in the United States.

And then rename the nation, as well, since we are “united” no longer.


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