Mount McKinley, the name of Alaska’s (and the nation’s) highest mountain, is reverting to its original native American name, Denali, thanks in part to the intercession of President Obama.
Tacomans should ponder Washington’s tallest mountain, Rainier, formerly Mount Tacoma. This original name was given by the Puyallup people, in whose language it meant “mother of waters.” George Vancouver renamed it after a crony of his, Rear Admiral Peter Rainier who, as far as I can tell, never sailed in these parts. (He did fight against our naval forces in the Revolutionary War.)
Tacomans, of course continued calling their mountain “Tacoma,” much to the consternation of Seattleites, even after the United States Board on Geographic Names declared in 1890 that the official name was “Rainier.” Congress was still considering a resolution to revert to “Mount Tacoma” as late as 1924.
Our state Senate should follow up on the McKinley precedent and reinstate the original name.
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