JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska's senior senator has once again introduced legislation to rename Mount McKinley, Denali.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski said in an interview Tuesday that Denali might not be the name that people in the Midwest recognize "but it has long been the name in really the place that matters, which is the state that this incredible mountain sits."
"I have nothing against President McKinley whatsoever, but I would rather have this peak be called by the name it has gone by for centuries by Alaskans than a man who never set foot in our state," Murkowski said in a release. "This is the tallest mountain in North America and we deserve to have this Alaskan landmark bear an Alaskan name."
Ohio is the birthplace of President William McKinley, and for years, members of that state's congressional delegation have filed measures or included language in bills to retain the name Mount McKinley. One such bill was introduced last week by Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, who said in a release Tuesday that the name must be retained "in order to honor the legacy of this great American President and patriot."
Debate over a name change goes back decades. According to a National Park Service history, McKinley was the name bestowed on the peak by William Dickey in 1896, and it stuck because of his "'discovery' account" in a newspaper in 1897. Alaska Natives, Russians and American visitors had offered names of their own for the mountain over the years.