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McKinley To Denali Name Change Legislation Passes Out Of Senate Committee

By | June 18, 2013

The long time tug of war over the name of North America’s highest peak was back in front of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday.

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Ranking committee member Lisa Murkowski recorded a win after Senate Bill 155, a one page piece of legislation, passed out of committee in favor of changing the name to Denali. Senator Murkowski says she’s defending the true Alaskan name for the majestic peak.

“It deserves to be called the name that the Athabascans from the Interior have called it for decades and decades and decades. I think it’s important that we honor and tribute Alaska’s First peoples by officially recognizing ‘The Big One’ as Denali,” Murkowski said.

True to the script of this long running saga, Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman voted against the change, saying he is defending Ohio where President William McKinley was born and served as a Governor in the 1800s. Portman also says, the name of the National Park has already been changed to Denali.

“I know Athabascan’s do call it Denali, there are a couple other Native peoples who call it other things, there are two other names at least the Aleuts use and another Native group, but the point is, we’d like to keep our Mount McKinley within the Denali National Park,” Portman said.

The committee approved the bill by a voice vote. That clears it for consideration by the full Senate although it’s not certain that it will make it to the floor.

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