Nevada panel backs name change of Jeff Davis Peak to Shoshone phrase ‘Doso Doyabi’
A Nevada board wants to change the name of a mountain peak in Great Basin National Park to more appropriately recognize a geological area important to a Native American tribe — instead of honoring the president of the Confederacy during the U.S. Civil War.
The Nevada Board of Geographic Names voted unanimously Jan. 8 to recommend a federal panel change the name of Jeff Davis Peak to the Shoshone name “Doso Doyabi” (pronounced “DOH-soh doy-AH-bee), which means “white mountain” in the native dialect.
Tribal elders say it’s a reference to the fact the summit of the 12,771-foot (3,830-meter) mountain near the Utah line was covered in snow year-round.
Support for a name change reportedly first emerged in 2017 during a push to remove Confederate monuments in various locations across the country.
Christine K. Johnson, collection manager for the Nevada Historical Society, said a formal application for the name change will be forwarded to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Board on Geographic Names.
Jeff Davis Peak is about 240 miles southwest of Salt Lake City and 300 miles north of Las Vegas. Davis’ name originally graced a neighboring mountain now known as Wheeler Peak, Nevada’s second highest point.
The Jan. 8 decision comes after a mountain ridge in the Sierra formerly known as “Squaw Ridge” — located in Amador and Alpine counties — was formally renamed in September 2018 to “Hungalelti Ridge” (pronounced Hunga-Lel-Ti).
The name was proposed by the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California; the change comes after other places with names that included the derogatory word “squaw” have been renamed throughout the United States in response to concerns raised by Native Americans and others.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Stacey Montooth, a member of the Walker River Paiute Nation who works currently as Public Relations and Community Information Officer for the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, will start her new role Sept. 1.