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New names for Montana landmarks that were named for Confederate president

Three Eagles Peak
Posted at 2:43 PM, Nov 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-30 16:56:57-05

HELENA — Three Montana geographic features named for Jefferson Davis - the president of the Confederacy during the Civil War - have been renamed.

The U.S. Geological Survey’s Board on Geographic Names approved the renaming of three geographic features that had been named after Davis.

Davis was a slaveholder and the only man to serve as the president of the Confederacy after the 11 southern states seceded, sparking the U.S. Civil War.

In 2021, several Montana-based groups petitioned the U.S. Board of Geographic Names to rename the geographic features.

Travis McAdam of the Montana Human Rights Network said at the time, "Geographic features named after an icon of white supremacy like Jefferson Davis aren't just words on a map. Location names can signal support for racism, slavery and the insurrectionist and treasonous Confederacy. These aren't values Montana should endorse in any shape or form.”

Two of the features have now been given traditional Salish names, and the third was named in honor of a Salish chief.

The board renamed Jeff Davis Gulch just outside Helena in Lewis & Clark County to In-qu-qu-leet Gulch, a rough phonetic rendering of the Salish word that means "Place of Lodgepole Pine."

Jeff Davis Creek in Beaverhead County has been renamed Doyavinai Baa O’ogwaide which means “water flowing from the mountain creek."

Jeff Davis Peak in Broadwater County will now be called Three Eagles Peak. According to the Char Kooosta News, Three Eagles is named after a Salish chief from the late 1700s.

The board approved renaming the gulch back in April. The peak and the creek renaming were approved in September.

All name changes will be reflected in the Geographic Names Information System, the federal database agencies use for publishing maps and other services.

Road names such as Davis Gulch Road are under the purview of county and/or municipal governments.