After over one hundred years of being known as “Mount McKinley,” North America’s tallest mountain will henceforth be officially recognized as “Denali.” President Obama announced the change on Aug. 30 in anticipation of his trip to Alaska, on which he will call for aggressive action against climate change.
Alaskan Native tribes have long objected to the cultural imperialism embedded in the name “Mount McKinley,” which commemorates a man who never even stepped foot in Alaska.
Some Ohio lawmakers on the other hand have objected to the name change, saying it takes away from the legacy of President McKinley. Senator Rob Portman (R- Ohio) took to Twitter to express his disappointment with the Obama administration:
Pres McKinley was a proud Ohioan, and the mountain was named after him, as a way to remember his rich legacy after his assassination (2/5)— Rob Portman (@senrobportman) August 31, 2015
Along with the name restoration, President Obama also announced increased efforts to support Native tribes. The New York Times reports:
The White House also announced on Sunday that Mr. Obama was expanding government support for programs to allow Alaska Natives to be more involved in developing their own natural resources, including an initiative to include them in the management of Chinook salmon fisheries, a youth exchange council focusing on promoting “an Arctic way of life,” and a program allowing them to serve as advisers to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
Mr. Obama has stepped up his engagement with Native Americans since June last year, when he visited Cannon Ball, N.D., in the ancestral lands of Chief Sitting Bull and took part in a powwow to honor American Indians who have served in America’s foreign wars. That was the first visit by a sitting president in 15 years to land under tribal jurisdiction.