What's the Big Deal About Restoring the Correct Name of Mount McKinley?


President Obama has created a controversy by renaming Mount McKinley back to its original Native American name Denali.

I suppose if I were an Ohioan, I wouldn’t be pleased either. You don’t like to see a native son dissed.


Speaker John Boehner seems a bit miffed:

“McKinley served our country with distinction during the Civil War as a member of the Army. He made a difference for his constituents and his state as a member of the House of Representatives and as Governor of the great state of Ohio,” the speaker said in a statement. “And he led this nation to prosperity and victory in the Spanish-American War as the 25th President of the United States. I’m deeply disappointed in this decision.”

Senator Portman isn’t pleased either:


But really now, why is everyone getting upset? Mountains, lakes, rivers, big rocks, and tiny streams have all been named by those that first saw them. And I hate to break it to my friends who are throwing a fit over this name change, but the ancestors of the Athabascan Indians have been in Alaska since the end of the last ice age — about 12,000 years ago. For at least the last several thousand years, the Athabascans have called the mountain Denali. This, compared to about 100 years of calling it Mount McKinley.


It looks like hypocrisy to claim the right to name a mountain when you’re about 5,000 years too late to do so.

Think of the tens of thousands of cities, towns, villages, counties, and townships that use a Native American name to identify them or, more likely, the western bastardization of the Native American word.(The official origin of “Chicago” is that it is the French version of the Miami-Illinois word “shikaakwa” [“Stinky Onion”], named for the garlic plant [not onion] Allium tricoccum common along the Chicago River.)

Even states have been named using indian names. Iowa, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and many more carry the names of tribes that populated the Midwest at the time the white man first arrived.

So what’s the big deal about restoring the proper place name to a mountain? Oh sure, it’s pure pandering by Obama as he looks to bribe another constituency. But in this case, with so many Alaskans agreeing with him, it’s hard to argue against it.


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