MR. ENZI. Mr. President, I rise to introduce a bill which will enable Devil's Tower National Monument to retain its historic and traditional name.
Wyoming is a state rich with heritage. We have cities and communities named after great explorers like John Charles Fremont, John Wessley Powell, and mountain man Jim Bridger. We have cities named after William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, Civil War Hero General Philip Sheridan and Army Fort Commander Caspar Collins. The state is also rich with names that recognize the contributions by Native Americans. Our state capital, Cheyenne, is joined with other areas named Shoshoni, Washakie, Arapahoe, Ten Sleep, Sundance and Shawnee. Wyoming also adopted many names that represent the unique geography that makes up our diverse state. For example, we have the Yellowstone, Riverton, Big Piney, Green River, Mountain View, Lonetree, and the Wind River Canyon.
One such place, Devil's Tower, was named in 1875 by a military survey team. You can imagine the impact on the group as it rode up to the tower more than 120 years ago. The gray volcanic tower sits on the plains of Northeastern Wyoming and shoots up, straight into the sky, for approximately one-quarter of a mile. Its rugged walls and round shape make it look something like a giant petrified tree stump. I live in the area and have visited the tower many times. I can attest that the name Devil's Tower is clearly applicable.
Along with Yellowstone National Park's Old Faithful, Devil's Tower has become an icon of Wyoming and the West. This unique structure is known internationally as one of the premiere climbing locations in the world and therefore plays a vital role in the state's billion dollar tourism industry.
I am, however, sensitive to the feelings of those Native Americans who would prefer to see the name of this natural wonder changed to something more acceptable to their cultural traditions. Many tribal members think of the monument as sacred. However, I believe little would be gained and much would be lost should Devil's Tower be renamed. Any name change for Devil's Tower would dredge up age-old conflicts and divisions between descendants of European settlers and the descendants of Native Americans and would place a heavy burden on the region's economic stability.
My legislation will prevent such an impact and will embrace the least offensive option offered so far--the preservation of the traditional name of Devil's Tower . I urge my colleagues to support this measure. I ask unanimous consent that the full text of the bill be printed in the record.