Behind the ‘Historical Accident’ That Led to Mt. McKinley’s Renaming

1 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Denali switch: Was President McKinley mountain-worthy?.

North America’s tallest mountain will soon return to its previous name, Mount Denali, more than a century after the Alaskan peak was named to honor President William McKinley, who never set foot in Alaska. ANCHORAGE, Alaska — President Barack Obama is opening a historic trip to Alaska that will make him the first sitting president to visit the Alaska Arctic.That question arises due to the controversy over President Obama’s decision to rebrand Alaska’s Mount McKinley as “Denali,” the name native Americans originally bestowed upon the peak.WASHINGTON — The Obama administration will change the identify of North America’s tallest mountain peak from Mount McKinley to Denali, the White Home stated Sunday, a serious symbolic gesture to Alaska Natives on the eve of President Barack Obama’s historic go to to Alaska. By renaming the height Denali, an Athabascan phrase which means “the excessive one,” Obama waded right into a delicate and decades-old battle between residents of Alaska and Ohio.

From talking to residents who are forced to flee their homes due to rising sea levels, to learning the political repercussions of melting polar ice, he’s got one of the most science-focused itineraries ever embarked upon by an American president. Some answers to common questions about Mount Denali and its name: A: Various tribes of Alaska Natives known as Athabascans have lived in the shadow of the 20,320-foot Denali for thousands of years. They complain that Obama’s move is a capricious use of presidential power – and that it disrespects McKinley, an Ohio native and pioneering GOP chief executive who was assassinated at the start of his second term.

Later Monday, he plans to give a speech on climate change and the Arctic at a State Department-sponsored conference involving Arctic and non-Arctic leaders. Forty years later, Russian Creole explorer Andrew Glazunov noted in a journal that he saw a “great mountain called Tenada.” In 1839, a map was published with an approximate location of the mountain with the name Tenada. However Obama’s go to can also be geared towards displaying solidarity with Alaska Natives, who face immense financial challenges and have warned of inadequate assist from the federal authorities. But over the century-plus of the Mount McKinley era, the name has stood as the primary – perhaps the only – national reminder of a confounding but important national leader.

Historians have had a difficult time rating McKinley, in part because he’s been overshadowed by the president who came after him: Theodore Roosevelt. It’s not just villages being washed away, but also changes related to fish populations and marine health—thanks to ocean-warming phenomena like The Blob—that are affecting the livelihoods of indigenous people.

Obama will pay a visit to see how Alaskans are adjusting to this frightening new reality, including how historic wildfires that swept through Alaska this summer burned about 5 million acres. The park service website notes Dickey’s account that he named the peak “after William McKinley of Ohio, who had been nominated for the Presidency, and that fact was the first news we received on our way out of that wonderful wilderness.” His account was published a year later in the New York Sun. This doesn’t just mean moving its cargo through new ice-free shipping routes and searching the now-exposed ocean floor for natural resources like oil and gas.

At 20,320 ft, the mountain stands because the continent’s tallest, and continues to be rising at a price of about one millimeter per yr, in response to the Nationwide Park Service. Recognized for its majestic views, the mountain is dotted with glaciers and coated on the prime with snow year-round, with highly effective winds that make it troublesome for the adventurous few who search to climb it. Although most Alaskans have always called the tallest peak in North America by its traditional name, Denali, now Obama will officially revert the mountain back to its Athabascan title. The change had been blocked by Republicans legislators from Ohio, McKinley’s home state, who are still calling it “insulting.” On the lighter side, Obama will tape an episode of Running Wild With Bear Gryllis, to air later this season.

Alaskans consider every place that isn’t Alaska “outside.” A: Far from it, but it wasn’t immediately clear what elected officials could do to stop it. Details are sparse but apparently after his climate change tour, Obama will meet Gryllis in the wilderness for a crash-course in Alaskan survival techniques which I can only imagine includes tips on what to do when confronted by Sarah Palin on a snowmobile. Bob Gibbs said McKinley deserved to be honored and invited his colleagues to join him to try to block what he called Obama’s “constitutional overreach.” A: Since at least 1975, when the Alaska Geographic Board changed the mountain’s name to Denali and the state Legislature, governor and congressional delegation began to push for the name change at the federal level, said Jo Antonson, the state historian. However these efforts and laws in Congress have been stymied by members of Ohio’s congressional delegation keen to guard the namesake of the state’s native son.

Board on Geographic Names fails to act “within a reasonable time.” The board shares responsibility with the Interior Department for naming such landmarks. Filipino nationalists rejected US rule, and McKinley ordered the insurrectionists put down in a bloody guerrilla war that would not end until 1902 and claimed the lives of 5,000 US soldiers and upwards of 200,000 Filipinos. “McKinley’s difficult foreign policy decisions, especially his policy toward China and his decision to go to war with Spain over Cuban independence, helped the US enter the twentieth century as a new and powerful empire on the world stage,” according to the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. While some of Obama’s Alaska agenda is certainly leaning more towards political puffery—unless he drinks his urine, of course—it’s clear that he’s made climate change a priority over the last few months. From his clean energy policies to his solar energy plan, Obama is positioning the US as a global leader in advance of the big UN climate talks in December.

Upon listening to the information that McKinley, a Republican, had acquired his get together’s nomination to be president, the prospector named it after him and the identify was formally acknowledged. Earlier this year, a Washington Post poll of American Political Science Association presidential experts put McKinley in 21st place, just behind William Howard Taft, and three spots up from Gerald Ford. The imagery from his visit is sure to make a dramatic statement all by itself about the challenges the planet is facing—he’s essentially going to see the future of Earth. In his forthcoming book, “The Triumph of William McKinley,” Rove argues that McKinley’s election overcame this stalemate and ushered in a Republican majority that dominated the US for decades.

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