Denali name given federal recognition by President Obama


US President Barack Obama has announced that North America’s tallest peak, which has been recognised by the federal government as Mount McKinley since 1917, will once again be called Denali.

Indigenous people from Alaska refer to the mountain, which holds special significance to them, by its Athabascan name, Denali (meaning ‘tall’ or ‘high’). In 1975, the state of Alaska officially designated the mountain as Denali and for decades following, have tried to have it recognised as such on a federal level as well.

The peak was named after the 25th President, William McKinley, by a gold prospector visiting the area in 1896. In prepared documents, Interior Department officials said, “In changing the name from Mount McKinley to Denali, we intend no disrespect to the legacy of President McKinley. We are simply reflecting the desire of most Alaskans to have an authentically Alaskan name for this iconic Alaskan feature.”

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