From the President’s travelogue:
Yesterday I touched down in Alaska for a three-day tour — a trip I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Not only because Alaska is one of the most beautiful places in a country that’s full of beautiful places– but because I’ll meet with everyday Alaskans about what’s going on in their lives, and I expect to learn a lot.
Alaska is a region defined by its Native population tribes that make up a large portion of the state’s population and have been here for thousands of years. People who, through their sheer ingenuity, found a way to wrangle the elements and stake out lives for themselves.
On the flight in, I had a great view of one of Alaska’s most beautiful sights?–?Denali.
It’s a new and ancient name all at once. In fact, just today, we renamed Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America, by restoring its native name: Denali, which means “the high one.”
Watch a video about the President’s trip below.
Predictable like the broken clock that is right twice a day, “I-am-very-rich-you-know” presidential wannabe Donald Trump is promising that when finally — and rightfully — in the Trump House he will undo President Obama’s decision to change Mount McKinley’s name to “Denali,” according to The Hill.
While the idea of an upcoming “War on Names” was somewhat satirical, once again the GOP proves that (Republican) life imitates satire.
On Sunday, the eve of his historic trip to Alaska and the Arctic, President Barack Obama announced that his administration would rename North America’s tallest mountain Mount McKinley as “Denali.”
The original name of our highest peak, Denali, is a name given it by the Alaskan native people which stands for “the high one” or “the great one” in Athabascan, the indigenous language of, among other, the native people of our 49th state.
“This name change recognizes the sacred status of Denali to many Alaska natives,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a statement, noting that the mountain had been known as Denali for generations.
In 1896, the mountain was “christened” Mount McKinley by a gold prospector, after President William McKinley
The government formally recognized the name in 1917, and efforts to reverse the move began in Alaska in 1975. In an awkward compromise struck in 1980, the national park surrounding it was named Denali National Park and Preserve, but the mountain continued to be called Mount McKinley.
Well, today, using a 1947 federal law that according to the White House gives Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell the authority to change geographical names, Mt. McKinley is no more.
In fact, according to Politico, the renaming became official last Friday with the signature of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell who stated in her order:
The mountain was originally named after President William McKinley of Ohio, but President McKinley never visited, nor did he have any significant historical connection to, the mountain or to Alaska.
Alaska’s governor and Alaska’s congressional delegation praised the name change.
Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, in a FaceBook message:
For centuries, Alaskans have known this majestic mountain as the ‘Great One.’ Today we are honored to be able to officially recognize the mountain as Denali. I’d like to thank the President for working with us to achieve this significant change to show honor, respect, and gratitude to the Athabascan people of Alaska.
But many Republicans, especially in Ohio, have been very quick to condemn the President for stripping the peak of its name honoring Ohio’s native son, William McKinley.
Browsing through various news media, one can see that the reactions range from “Unhappy,” through “deeply disappointed” and “freaked-out” to “butt-hurt” and “apoplectic.”
Looking back one can see how easy it is to start wars in our country.
We have had — and in many cases continue to have — wars on poverty, on drugs, on women and even on Christmas.
We have already had skirmishes on names of sports teams.
I hate to be a cynic, but in this very infirm political environment, the first shot may have already been fired in a new war, the War on Names.
Just think, if we get a President Trump, on his very first day in office he may change the name of Mount Rushmore to Mount Rushbaugh, Mount St. Helens to Mt. St. Palin, Cape Kennedy to Cape Reagan, Empire State Building to Emperor Trump Palace. These changes in addition to new names for new monuments such as “Trump Wall I” protecting our southern border from those rapists and murderers and “Trump Wall II” keeping those evil Canucks in their place.
Watch out, Pennsylvania Avenue!
Lead photo: www.shutterstock.com
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.