Place names are the domain of an obscure U.S. board
Mt. Diablo or Mt. Reagan? And shouldn't it be the Gulf of America? The U.S. Board on Geographic Names has to decide.
By Richard Simon
His request touched off a flood of Internet opposition, and the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted against the idea and sent an opposition letter to the federal panel.
What about Squaw Valley, Calif., site of the 1960 Winter Olympics? The board has no say over the privately owned ski resort.
Alaska's effort to change the name of Mt. McKinley to Denali, an Athabascan name meaning "The High One" or "The Great One," has been blocked for three decades by lawmakers from President McKinley's home state of Ohio.
Californians aren't demanding that we name places after Nixon, so why are Ohioans so vain and parochial? Amazing that they believe protecting some dead white guy's reputation is important to their well-being. I can just imagine their "thinking":
"McKinley imposed high tariffs, launched the Spanish-American War, and annexed the kingdom of Hawaii! And he was assassinated! He deserves a mountain in Alaska, a place with no significance to him! Remembering his less-than-stellar presidency is more important than giving back the Athabascans' stolen heritage!"
For more on the subject, see Restoring Traditional Indian Names.
Below: "Alaska's effort to change the name of Mt. McKinley to Mt. Denali has been blocked for three decades by lawmakers from President McKinley’s home state of Ohio." (Al Grillo/Associated Press)