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David Antonucci <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 12 Dec 2014 16:07:03 -0800
text/plain (38 lines)
Robert Stewart’s account of the most-recent Nevada Board on
Geographical Names meeting omits several relevant points in connection
with the motion to table indefinitely the naming proposal. I was
present during the entire session on the issue. I presented
uncontroverted factual evidence on the record that showed the much
publicized exposed flat rock and beach where Stewart supposes Clemens
camped in 1861 did not exist until the mid-20th century. In addition,
I submitted into the record a copy of my book, Fairest Picture – Mark
Twain at Lake Tahoe that included documentation on writings about
Nevada Tribes.
The NBGN was forced to take the position that the naming proposal was
not based on any assertion Clemens was ever at or near the site;
therefore, no evidence supporting that position was entered on the
record. The framing of the nomination this way was necessary because
the US Board on Geographical Names had previously ruled that it
doubted Clemens actually camped at the proposed naming site. The USBGN
could only reconsider the matter if new supporting information became
available, of which there was none.
The motion to table the nomination indefinitely was made without
foundation, meaning no reason was cited by the motion maker. In these
cases, we look to what was in the record before the board to determine
justification. The record of the hearing contained only the oral
testimony of the Washoe Tribal Cultural Officer Darrell Cruz against
the proposal and the scientific study debunking the flat rock and
beach as a campsite location. The scientific study was peer reviewed
by a geologist with the US Geological Survey, a member agency of the
Stewart attempted to submit a copy of the Mark Twain Journal that
contained his paper on friends of Mark Twain and a reference to an
East Shore campsite. However, the chair declined to accept it into the
record and returned to him on the basis that it was irrelevant to the
matter before the board.
A subsequent news article incorrectly reported that the proposal would
be revived yet again. Upon inquiry, NBGN Chair Jeff Kintop verified
the proposal was formally dead.
David C. Antonucci
Author of Fairest Picture -- Mark Twain at Lake Tahoe