CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — An effort is underway to change the name of Devils Tower National Monument, a giant rock butte in northeast Wyoming.
Local American Indians and others say the name is inappropriate given the tower’s religious significance. They’re seeking to have it switched to Bear Lodge.
Here are some key things to know about the geological feature:
FIRST US MONUMENT
President Theodore Roosevelt designated Devils Tower the country’s first national monument on Sept. 24, 1906, under new authority granted to him in the Antiquities Act. Congress passed the measure to help protect unique U.S. sites.
HOW DID IT FORM?
The most accepted theory is that Devils Tower was created by underground magma that cooled and hardened into igneous rock.
The magma shrank and cracked, forming multisided columns. Weather and the nearby Belle Fourche River then eroded the softer rock surrounding the hard columns, exposing the tower over time. The columns make the tower a popular place for rock climbers.
Piles of rubble, boulders and stones at the tower’s base likely are column pieces that have broken off over the years.
NATIVE AMERICANS AND THE TOWER
About two dozen area tribes have maintained some affiliation with the tower over the centuries.
Tribes have their own stories passed down through generations about how the jagged butte formed. The most popular ones attribute it to a large bear clawing at a mountain where people had taken refuge to escape it.
Various tribal languages have names for the tower that translate in English to: Bear’s House, Bear Peak, Bear Lodge, Tree Rock, Gray Horn Butte and Grizzly Bear’s Lodge.
DEVIL’S IN THE DETAILS
According to the National Park Service, most maps from 1874 to 1901 mark the feature as Bears Lodge.
The name change happened during this period with information brought back by an expedition led by Col. Richard Irving Dodge.
The group sent a small contingent, including a geologist and mapmaker, to study the tower. When they returned, they reported “the Indians call this place ‘bad god’s tower,’ a name adopted with proper modification.”
And so, the label “Devil’s Tower” was born.
No other records indicate Native Americans associated the tower with any kind of evil spirit.
Devils Tower was the focus of the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” which depicted an alien encounter. The movie, directed by Steven Spielberg, was released in 1977.
Since then, the site has been a draw for fans of the film and people interested in UFOs.
Proponents of the name change have petitioned the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, which approves and standardizes geographic labels for the federal government.
The panel receives hundreds of proposals each year to name or rename features ranging from mountains to streams. Here are a few other requests pending before it:
— Naming an 80-foot summit in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park “Hazels Cone” in honor of a woman who operated cottages near a park entrance.
— Changing the name of Gary Ditch in Brunswick, Ohio, to “Goodyear Creek.” The proponent says “ditch” connotes degradation and is “not a pleasant word” for a stream.
— Giving the name “Tubsinte Hill” to a 135-foot summit on San Francisco Bay’s west side. The name recognizes a Yelamu Ohlone village that existed in Visitacion Valley in the mid to late 18th century.
Mugabe’s body brought home to Zimbabwe
The body of Zimbabwe’s founder Robert Mugabe arrived at the country’s main airport on Wednesday, but his final resting place remained a source of mystery amid a dispute between some family members and the government.
Mugabe, one of the last “Big Men” of African politics who ruled the southern African nation for 37 years until he was ousted by his own army in November 2017, died in a Singapore hospital five days ago.
He is proving as polarizing in death as he was in life, as the fight over where he will be buried threatens to embarrass his successor, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and deepen divisions in the ruling ZANU-PF party.
The former president’s body arrived at Harare’s Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport shortly after 1330 GMT. A military guard of honor stood at attention as the casket was removed from the aircraft, draped in the national flag and accompanied by security chiefs.
“The entire nation of Zimbabwe, our people, across the board are grieved and are in mourning because the light which led us to independence is no more, but his works, his ideology will continue to guide this nation,” Mnangagwa said.
“On the day we shall lay him to rest, on Sunday, I appeal to you in your hundreds, in your thousands, in your millions to show your love of our great leader who has left us,” he added.
Mugabe’s wife Grace, dressed in black with a black veil, was next to Mnangagwa at the airport. Also present were Mugabe’s daughter Bona and Savior Kasukuwere, a former Mugabe cabinet minister and staunch ally who has been living in self-imposed exile in South Africa since early this year.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, the former general who led the coup that overthrew Mugabe, was conspicuous by his absence at the airport. He has been receiving treatment in China since July for an unknown illness
Crowds had gathered at the airport well before the scheduled arrival time, with some wearing T-shirts bearing Mugabe’s face and others with Mnangagwa’s image, while music blared from loudspeakers.
A convoy of 4×4 vehicles with number plates bearing the letters “RG Mugabe” and the former leader’s signature were also on the runway.
DJ Arafat: Thousands pay tribute at Abidjan concert
Thousands of fans have gathered in Ivory Coast’s capital Abidjan to pay tribute to musician DJ Arafat.
The 33-year-old Ivorian, whose real name was Ange Didier Huon, died in a motorcycle accident earlier this month.
Hundreds of Ivorian artists took part in a stadium concert, with President Alassane Ouattara among its attendees.
Huon’s coffin was then brought to the stadium before being carried away to a local cemetery for burial.
The concert was organised after a successful online petition which called on the government to allow the use of Félix Houphouët Boigny stadium, which seats 35,000 people.
The government also pledged $250,000 (£205,000) towards the event and said it would pay for Huon’s funeral ceremony.
DJ Arafat was one of the most popular African musicians in the Francophone world, and had been referred to as the “king” of coupé-décalé (cut and run), an Ivorian form of dance music.
The musical genre was born in the early 2000s during Ivory Coast’s civil war and emphasised that young people still wanted to have fun despite the conflict.
DJ Arafat came to symbolise the flashy, well-dressed lifestyle associated with the music, which features fast percussion, deep bass and hip hop-style vocals.
The singer was also known for his love of motorcycles and featured them in his most recent hit, Moto Moto, released in May, which has had more than 5m YouTube views.
He released 11 albums over his 15-year career, and was named artist of the year at the Coupé-Decalé Awards in 2016 and 2017.
He was posthumously nominated for two All Africa Music Awards.
Off stage, DJ Arafat was known for controversy, having faced accusations of domestic abuse.
The music star also regularly lashed out at other artists on social media.
“The clashes started because I wanted to show I was number one on the Ivorian music scene,” Huon told Jeune Afrique magazine last year.
“Above all it helped me to invent new sounds, I needed competition to find inspiration. When the music scene is sleeping, you have to wake it up.