Mount McKinley is now officially Denali

You may recall my post of a couple of months ago about how members of the Ohio congressional delegation were using legal maneuvers to prevent Alaska’s Mount McKinley being changed to Denali, its original Athabascan name, simply because president McKinley was from Ohio and even though he had never been to Alaska or had anything to do with the mountain.

The National Parks Service had no opposition to making the change to Denali but there is a part of the law under which they operate that says that they cannot consider a change in the name while the issue is under consideration by Congress, and Ohio congresspersons regularly introduce pointless bills that never go anywhere just for the purpose of stymying the NPS. Ohio congressman Bob Gibbs had introduced such a bill again this year.

Now president Obama seems to have circumvented that legislative hurdle and issued an executive order for the name change. Needless to say, Ohio congresspersons are up in arms but the Republican senator and governor of Alaska have supported the change.

Jordan Klepper of The Daily Show had a fine piece about Ohio’s ridiculous attitude on this issue back in July.

(This clip aired on July 2, 2015. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Nightly Show outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)


  1. atheistblog says

    I called Denali as Denali never liked McKinely. Also as mountaineer, I want Mt Tahoma to be named back to Mt Tahoma, the famous volcano in the CONUS and famous for mountaineering, (in case if any laity don’t know about Mt Tahoma)

  2. Al Dente says

    atheistblog @2

    I personally think that Mt St. Helens (known as Lawetlat’la to the indigenous Cowlitz people, and Loowit to the Klickitat) is the most famous volcano in CONUS.

  3. StevoR says

    @ ^ Al Dente : Yes, agreed on Mt St Helens there -- definitley! Loving Dana Hunter’s series :

    on it too.

    Here in Oz we’ve changed Ayers rock to Uluru and even locally we’re now starting to shift back to some great indigenous place names although often on a dual name basis.

    @2. atheistblog : Umm, Mt Tahoma’s new and old names seem to be identical there!

  4. StevoR says

    See :

    For what the Adelaide city council is doing intersmof acknowledgingand signposting Kaurna place names.

    Incidentally this isn’t limited to Adelaide alone -- lake Eyre has also recently had its indigenous Arabana name of Kati thanda recognise dand applied too. See :

    www (dot) abc (dot) net (dot) au / news / 2012-12-19 / new-name-adopted-for-outback-lake-eyre / 4436212

    NB. Link broken to avoid moderation. Remove spaces put . for (dot)s & link should work. Video has now expired but audio &, natch, text still good.

  5. raym says

    From twitter:
    “McKinley is now considered one of the greatest and most beloved presidents ever by Republicans who hadn’t heard of him before today.”

    Andrew Hibbard @andrewhibbard

  6. Chiroptera says

    Wasn’t McKinley’s most significant accomplishment dying so that Teddy Roosevelt could become President?

  7. Skip White says

    The funny thing is, McKinley wasn’t even the first otherwise-forgotten president from Ohio elected in the 19th century who died in office. William Henry Harrison died after about a month in office from pneumonia, and James Garfield was assassinated about 6 months into his presidency.

  8. Vicki says

    Tahoma is the one that people in the Puget Sound area refer to just as “the mountain,” looming on the horizon on a clear day.

    (IIRC, the namesake Rainier was an officer on a British mapping/exploring ship and at least had some connection to the region.)

  9. oldoligarch says

    Obama’s action is all show and no substance,typical for a Democrat.
    Why doesn’t he call for returning ‘Mount Rushmore’ to the Lakota,and destroying the faces of American nationalist icons,you Americans have carved into their sacred hills? Can you imagine the faces of Hitler,Himmler, Goering and Goebbels carved into the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem?
    While Obamas at it he can review who rightfully owns most of the Dakotas and Minnesota.and consider returning that land to its rightful owners.

  10. Trickster Goddess says

    Dear Ohio,

    If you would like to name a mountain after President McKinley, why not pick one in his home state?

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