Politicians in Ohio oppose use of Alaska Native name for peak

A view of Denali, formerly known as Mt. McKinley. Photo from DOI / Facebook

Politicians in Ohio are vowing to prevent North America's highest peak from returning to its Alaska Native name.

To nearly every Alaskan, Denali is the name for the iconic mountain. The name comes from the Koyukon Athabascan word for "tall" or "high."

But to people in Ohio, it's Mt. McKinley. It was named for former president William McKinley, who never set foot in Alaska, unlike President Barack Obama who is spending three days there on a historic trip to the 49th state.

"The Ohio delegation certainly didn't hear about this from the president," an angry Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) told The Washington Post as he vowed to stop the mountain from being officially called Denali. "I’m certain he didn’t notify President McKinley’s descendants, who find this outrageous. Clearly this is a president who is not concerned with the deliberative process."

Gov. John Kasich (R), a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, also expressed disappointment. But he didn't say whether he would try to prevent the change, unlike rival Donald Trump, who promised to restore the non-Native name if elected.

The reaction from Alaska was completely the opposition. Politicians from both parties praised the official recognition of the Native name.

"Today, the nation recognizes what Alaskans have known for generations – Denali is the rightful name for North America’s tallest mountain," Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who clashed with members of his own party in the past about the name, said on Facebook.

Get the Story:
Ohio Gov. Kasich opposes changing name of Mount McKinley (AP 9/1)
3,000 Miles From Denali, Ohio Fumes Over Renaming of Mount McKinley (The New York Times 9/1)
This Ohio GOP congressman is going to fight the Mt. McKinley name change (The Washington Post 8/31)
Q&A about decision to change Mount McKinley to Mount Denali (AP 8/31)

An Opinion:
Dana Milbank: Mt. McKinley becomes the newest conservative molehill (The Washington Post 8/31)

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President Obama restores Alaska Native name of highest peak (8/31)
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