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Anchorage Daily News Editorial Supporting Renaming

September 6 2001 at 8:45 AM
roger  (no login)

Response to Alaska Renews Fight to Change McKinley Name to Denali


I picked this up from Nandotimes but it was originally in the Anchorage Daily News

August 31, 2001 10:22 p.m. EDT) - Rep. Ralph Regula's clockwork opposition to any attempt to officially rename Mount McKinley to Denali has thwarted the change for a generation.

Alaskans can understand the veteran Ohio republican's regard for a fellow Buckeye, a Civil War hero and powerful president struck down by an assassin's bullet. And we're aware that various American mountains are named for presidents who were never near them.

But the name Denali evokes powerful feelings for thousands of Alaskans, Native and non-Native alike. "Denali" rolls off the tongue better than Mount McKinley, has the brevity befitting a name for the mighty, and stood for the mountain long before William McKinley was born.

The Athabascan word Denali commands respect; drop the "Mount" and you have a simple, three-syllable name that suggests power, danger, mystery and grace.

Besides, even if Rep. Regula's take on President McKinley's place in history is correct, it's a stretch to think of the 25th president as a fair substitute for "The Great One." It's not as if we're trying to take the name Lincoln off the mountain. (We'd bet President Lincoln would have gladly chosen Denali, for the sake of union).

Under President McKinley, the United States took possession of Guam, Hawaii, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and part of Samoa. But it's overreaching to stake a claim for his name at the summit of North America. Whatever McKinley's place in history, his name is out of place on Denali.

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