Wyoming officials introduce bill to protect Devils Tower name

WYOMING — Wyoming senators Cynthia Lummis and John Barrasso are introducing and supporting a bill to protect the name of the Devils Tower National Monument, saying that efforts have been made in recent years to change the name of the well-known landmark.

Senator Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming introduced a bill to protect the name of the Devils Tower National Monument located in the northeast corner of Wyoming. Despite the fact that the monument has been known as Devils Tower since the 1800s, efforts have been made in recent years to change the name of the well-known landmark. Sen. John Barrasso is co-sponsoring the bill.

“Devils Tower is one of the most iconic sights In Wyoming,” Lummis said. “It’s the first national monument in the United States, and a place of significance for everyone who sees it, from the tourists who visit to the native peoples and Wyoming residents who live nearby. Devils Tower is well known across the country and around the world as a historical and cultural landmark, and it is critical that we maintain its legacy and its name.”

In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Devils Tower as the first national monument in the United States. The monument welcomes more than half a million visitors each year and is an important part of the state and regional economy.

According to the National Park Service website, the site is sacred to dozens of Native American tribes throughout the region, including Arapaho, Cheyenne, Crow, Kiowa, Lakota, and Shoshone. Ancestors of these modern tribes developed origin stories in the form of sacred narratives, which have been passed down through oral traditions.

“The name ‘Devils Tower’ evokes strong emotions today,” NPS said on their site. “Indigenous groups agree that ‘Bear Lodge’ is a more acceptable name which reflects their reverence for and connection with the site. Other stakeholders resist this movement to revert back to an original name. The origins of the name ‘Devils Tower’ trace to an 1875 military expedition, although the reasons for the new name remain mired in controversy and uncertainty.”

Since 2005, petitioners have asked the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to rename Devils Tower, but the bureaucratic board has been unable to do so because of a Devil’s Tower protection bill. Since the bill is under consideration by Congress, the board cannot make its own decision on the issue. As a result, whether the bill becomes law or not, the name cannot be changed.

To read the bill, click here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/22?r=13&s=1

About The Author

Buckrail @ Jacob

Jacob Gore was born and raised in Cheyenne, the capital city of Wyoming. As a proud Wyomingite, he loves to share his home with visitors from around the world. Spending years in Jackson and Alaska as an interpretive nature guide, he remains a photographer, traveler, storyteller, and avid hobbyist of all-things outdoors. Jacob enjoys bridging the connection between Jackson and the rest of the state.

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