Wyoming senator works to ‘protect’ name of Devils Tower with legislation

Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 9:01 AM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - After efforts to change its name, legislation has been introduced to protect the name of Wyoming’s well-known landmark in the northeastern corner of the state.

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. Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis has introduced a bill to protect Devils Tower National Monument,

“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.”

Sen. John Barrasso is also co-sponsoring the bill.

This bill would counter petitioners that have been fighting since 2005 for the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to rename Devils Tower. The National Park Service say that over 20 American Indian tribes consider the location sacred “and find the application of the name ‘Devils’ to be offensive.”

The board hasn’t taken action because of the Devils Tower Protection Bill. Since the bill is under Congressional consideration, 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.

The monument attracts more than half a million visitors each year, serving as an important part of the state and regional economy.

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