denali: the new name that’s really an old name

on sunday, president obama approved the name change of the highest peak in the united states.

denali the high one
denali: athabascan for “the high one”  (nps photo/jacob w. frank)

as john schuppe reported on, the mountain previously known as mount mckinley

will now be known as denali, or “the high one” in the language of alaska’s indigenous athabascan people

it has been a crazy couple of weeks for obscure (not easily recognized) u.s. presidents.  franklin pierce had his name in the headlines last month, and now the 25th president of the united states, william mckinley, has made it into the news for having his name removed from a mountain.

mckinley the high one
william mckinley: known to presidential historians as “the high one”

nbc news interviewed kimberly kenney of the william mckinley presidential library. kenney

pointed out mckinley’s most lasting contribution to american history: a victory in the spanish-american war, which established the united states as a world power and set the tone for future military campaigns in foreign countries.

set the tone means establish a style.

gore vidal empire mckinley
gore vidal’s book empire discusses the role william mckinley played in building the american empire.

gore vidal‘s novel empire focuses on the years at the beginning of the 20th century when the u.s. was setting this tone globally. president mckinley is an important character in the book.

fun english practice :) richyrocks english on youtube

the headline of schuppe’s article reads

Mt. McKinley to Denali: How A Mountain’s Renaming Got Tied Up in Politics

tied up means slowed down, held up, restrained.  politics is an activity, NOT a person. politician is a person who has a career in politics.

athabascan dance denali
athabascan kids preparing for a community dance (adam dubrowa/fema)

the politics in this situation have president obama between the state of alaska, where the peak has always been known as denali; and ohio, mckinley’s home state. schuppe writes

alaskan tribes have been advocating for a return to denali for decades. but ohioans pushed back, saying it would be an insult to mckinley’s political legacy.

tribe refers to indigenous people. advocate means promote.  push back indicates a strong response. political describes something related to politics or politicians.

2012 Republican National Convention: Day 2
ohio governor john kasich used the renaming of mount mckinley as an opportunity to criticize president obama. (mark wilson/getty images)

one of the ohio politicians who has pushed back is current governor and republican candidate for president john kasich. yesterday governor kasich tweeted that president obama

 overstepped his bounds

bounds is short for boundaries, like in the phrase out of bounds.

kasich’s idea is that obama did something he doesn’t have the power to do, more than he should have.

grizzly bear denali
“i don’t give a fuck,” said a local bear. (diliff, wikimedia commons)

does it matter to u what name the tallest mountain in north america has? do u prefer denali or mckinley? can u suggest a better name? share your ideas under leave a reply





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