Social media campaign highlights Indigenous names of popular Utah locations

Timpanogos is used today to refer to the prominent mountain peak in Utah Valley. However, the Ute word “Timpanogos” originally referred to what settlers named the Provo River. Mount Timpanogos is one of a number of Utah places featured in a social media campaign by the American West Center, in honor of Native American Heritage Month.

Timpanogos is used today to refer to the prominent mountain peak in Utah Valley. However, the Ute word “Timpanogos” originally referred to what settlers named the Provo River. Mount Timpanogos is one of a number of Utah places featured in a social media campaign by the American West Center, in honor of Native American Heritage Month. (Ravell Call, Deseret News )



Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Did you know the Ute word "Timpanogos" originally referred to what we now know as the Provo River? Or that Kings Peak, Utah's tallest mountain, was called Tei'an-Ku-ai" — which means "a small peak" or "peak with a small tip" in Eastern Shoshone?

The American West Center is sharing these nuggets as part of a social media campaign highlighting the Indigenous names of Utah places in honor of Native American Heritage Month. The center is highlighting one geographic location a day on its Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts through November.

The names are being drawn from the center's Native Places Atlas project, an interactive map of the Intermountain West that records the Indigenous names of major landscape features and some historical and cultural sites.

The project's website stresses that Native peoples are place-based people.

"Their histories are embedded in places and place names," the website reads. "Erasing Native place names, this effectively erases Native histories. Mapping was one of the principal tools of colonialism. Maps made new colonies 'legible' to colonial administrators and facilitated the implementation of policies, programs and regulations that supplanted Indigenous lifeways."

Utah is home to eight federally recognized tribes: the Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation, the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation, the Skull Valley Band of Goshute, the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe, the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and the Navajo Nation.

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Sydnee Gonzalez is a multicultural reporter for KSL.com covering the diversity of Utah's people and communities. Se habla español. You can find Sydnee at @sydnee_gonzalez on Twitter.

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