RSS   Newsletter   Contact   Advertise with us
Post Online Media
Post Online Media Magazine

Alaska's Mount McKinley to be renamed Denali

Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn
Staff writer |
Mount McKinley
Natives   Decades in identity crisis

Having spent four decades in a towering identity crisis, North America’s tallest peak is changing names, from Mount McKinley to Denali.

The White House said Sunday that Sally Jewell used her authority as secretary of the Interior Department to switch to the name given to the mountain by Alaskan native tribes.

“Generally believed to be central to the Athabaskan creation story, Denali is a site of significant cultural importance to many Alaska natives,” the White House said in a written statement. The change was announced on the eve of President Barack Obama’s visit to Alaska.

Denali, an Athabaskan word meaning “the high one,” has been the name used by Native Alaskans for centuries, and Mt. McKinley has long been a politically controversial replacement. A prospector exploring the area named the 20,320-foot-high peak after William McKinley after his nomination for president in 1896.

In 1901, after McKinley was assassinated, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names “hurriedly” endorsed it despite the fact that the president had no connection to the mountain, according to the 1995 cartography book “Drawing the Lines — Tales of Maps and Cartocontroversy” by Mark S. Monmonier.

In 1975, Alaska petitioned for the name to be changed.


What to read next
POST Online Media Contact