ND delegation introduces bill to rename Spirit Lake Indian Reservation game preserve

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WASHINGTON - Senators Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. and John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Congressman Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., have introduced identical bills in their respective chambers to rename a game preserve on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation, Sullys Hill, to its traditional Dakota name of White Horse Hill.

The preserve was named after General Alfred Sully, a Civil War general who massacred hundreds of Native Americans in multiple campaigns after the war. The delegation said in a joint release an act of Congress dedicated the preserve in 1931, so another act is needed to rename the land.

“The Spirit Lake Tribe does not need a name within their land that reminds them of the atrocities committed against their ancestors,” said Cramer. “The Dakota people hold the name ‘White Horse Hill’ as sacred, and I hope we pass this legislation to honor the history of this land and the wishes of this tribe.”

“This legislation is a collaborative effort to reinstate the traditional Dakota name of White Horse Hill to this land within the Spirit Lake Nation,” said Hoeven. “This return to its historic name will honor the heritage of this area and the Spirit Lake Tribe.”

“This game preserve in the heart of the Spirit Lake Reservation should have never been named as it was, so we’re going to put it back to its historical name,” said Armstrong. “This is the wish of the Spirit Lake Tribe, and we should honor their request.”​

The Spirit Lake tribe, Governor Doug Burgum and North Dakota Tourism also support the legislation.