Saying the tallest mountain in North America deserves a Native American name, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has introduced legislation to rename Mount McKinley in Denali National Park as "Denali."
The senator from Alaska says the peak should be known by its traditional Interior Alaska Athabascan name.
“I have nothing against President McKinley, whatsoever, but I would rather have this peak be called by the name it has gone by for centuries by Alaskans than a man who never set foot in our state,” said Sen. Murkowski last week. "This is the tallest mountain in North America and we deserve to have this Alaskan landmark bear an Alaskan name. My bill will go back to the future to give ‘The Great One’ its rightful name.”
The senator previously mentioned her concern over the mountain's name during an Energy and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee hearing last June.
“We don’t refer to it as Mt. McKinley we just call it 'Denali,'" she said at the time. "That’s what we’ve always called it. Denali is an Alaska Native word, an Athabascan word, and it means 'The High One.' And as you think about this incredible mountain, you think that’s pretty appropriately named.
"All my bill does is make that name official. I know the name Mount McKinley has some special significance to the folks in Ohio because of the President William McKinley. My response to those folks is: You’re more than welcome to go right on referring to the mountain as Mount McKinley, just as Alaskans have long referred to the mountain as Denali. All that’s changing is that the Alaskan name is becoming technically correct for an Alaskan landmark.”