The US Department of Agriculture is changing the name of Wayne National Forest in Ohio to something less offensive, like the “Buckeye National Forest,” after a coalition of leftist Karens; I’m sorry, I meant “American Indian Tribes and local community members” objected to a national forest named after a legitimate American hero.
The national forest is currently named after General Anthony Wayne, whose complicated legacy includes leading a violent campaign against the Indigenous peoples of Ohio that resulted in their removal from their homelands. The current forest name is offensive because of this history of violence. Buckeye National Forest is one of the names suggested to the Forest Service by American Indian Tribes. Other proposed names considered included “Ohio National Forest” and “Koteewa National Forest.”
“Our intention is to listen to Tribal Nations and community members, and take the actions needed to better serve them,” said Forest Supervisor Lee Stewart. “The new name embraces the forest’s identity as Ohio’s only national forest and the welcoming, inclusive nature of the people of Ohio.”
The effort to change the forest name to Buckeye National Forest is based in respect and inclusion for all of Ohio’s communities and seeks to ensure the name of these federal lands is representative of all who value the national forest. It also follows multiple policy directives and is consistent with Agency efforts to advance equity and inclusion.
Before I go too far, I’d like to start this essay with a land acknowledgment statement.
My home sets on land first explored by English and Scots-Irish freemen who had migrated from their homeland in search of freedom and opportunity or sometimes on the run from the law. The land was settled primarily by Germans from the Palatinate, who, through their industry, created farms, pastures, and orchards where only unproductive, fallow wilderness had existed. These men and women held savage tribes at bay and together created a nation that has been the beacon of hope to the world for over two hundred years. This land was conquered, not stolen, and any acknowledgment we make is owed to those who, with axe and musket, created the most powerful nation in the history of the world and we don’t owe a damn thing to anybody for being proud of their accomplishment.
For those unacquainted with “Mad” Anthony Wayne, he was one of George Washington’s most effective regimental and divisional commanders. He didn’t take shortcuts. He trained his men hard. When he was embarrassed by the enemy, such as at the Battle of Paoli, where his regiment was mauled by British light infantry in a bold night attack, he learned the lessons and paid his adversaries back severalfold using their own tactics; see the Battle of Stony Point.
He was called back to active duty after two stunning defeats were inflicted upon the US Army (Hamar’s Defeat and the Battle of Wabash) by the Miaimi Confederacy, led by Little Turtle of the Miami and Blue Jacket of the Shawnee, contested American ownership of what is now Ohio.
Wayne raised the Legion of the United States and trained them with such rigor that Little Turtle referred to him as “the chief who never sleeps” and urged his confederacy to sue for peace. When it refused, Little Turtle quit as its leader. Wayne brought the Indians to battle at Fallen Timbers, thoroughly thrashed them, and, during his pursuit, broke them as a viable military force. His victories set the stage for Ohio and Indiana to join the United States.
The objection to Wayne and the desire to erase his legacy is based on two things. First, when living in Georgia, he owned an interest in two rice plantations and up to 50 slaves. Second, he thrashed the enemies of the United States. There is a third thing. He was a straight White guy, and, let’s face it, way too much stuff is named after them.
I think both reasons are just stupid. If we are going to judge everyone by today’s utterly corrupt standards for living by the legal standards of their time, then we have no history. Most of the Founding Fathers owned slaves. None, as far as I can tell, was enthusiastic about the idea of emancipation. Don’t think slavery is the reason or the end; it isn’t. We’ll eventually find that Teddy Roosevelt told an inappropriate joke about homosexuals or didn’t think women should vote. Maybe one day, we’ll start tearing down monuments to known adulterers and people who used gasoline-powered cars. The game here is to erase American history and install in its place some sort of bizarre catalog of things that right-thinking people must apologize for. It is to replace some of the greatest men (there, I said it) produced by Western Civilization (I did it again; I don’t know what’s wrong with me today) and denigrate their historic achievements.
The idea that Wayne’s name should be stricken from this national forest because he had the temerity to curb-stomp Indian tribes that brought murder, arson, and kidnapping to unoffending settlements is nothing short of ridiculous. American Indians were dealt a bad hand, for sure. America was superior to them in every conceivable metric. They had a choice: acquiesce or fight.
They are owed nothing for making war on the United States. As I pointed out in my Independence Day post, This Land Was Conquered, Not Stolen, and if You Can’t Acknowledge That Fact at Least Cope With It. Letting the losers gain a final victory by destroying the memory of their defeat is shameful.
Ohio Senator JD Vance and some other politicians oppose this atrocity, but it is doomed to fail. Once the faux “comment period” is ended, the preordained decision will be executed.
One of the primary duties of any Republican president has to be to roll back this progressive, leftist, Democrat assault on our national history. I’m not a particular fan of Braxton Bragg or John Bell Hood, but as a matter of principle, their names should be restored to those military installations. If this decision goes through, the next president should change it back and fire anyone who had any role, no matter how small, in this attack on American history.