Murkowski, Sullivan: Denali Is ‘The Great One’s Rightful Name

Senators Introduce Legislation to Make Alaskan Name Official

Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan today announced they have introduced legislation that would make “Denali” the official name of America’s tallest peak – the most widely-used designation of the 20,230 foot tall mountain given by the state’s Koyukon Athabascan residents (Deenaalee).  The bill would reverse a century-old decision: 19th Century prospector William Dickey naming it after a President who never stepped foot in Alaska, William McKinley – and how it has since been ‘officially’ known and printed on maps and learning materials internationally.

“Denali has long been known as the name for the great one, not only the tallest and largest mountain in Alaska but also all of North America,” said Murkowski.  “Alaskans take great pride in this gorgeous natural monument, so it is important that we grant it its ancestral name to honor and respect our heritage as well as the lands through a name that goes back centuries.  This is our Alaska, and this should be our decision.”

"The Athabascan people of Alaska already named this great mountain thousands of years ago,” said Sullivan.  “They called it Denali, the ‘Great One.’  Denali absolutely belongs to Alaska and its citizens – and with all due respect to my colleagues and the good people of Ohio, where President McKinley was born and where I have many friends and family, the mountain is not theirs to name.  The naming rights already went to the Alaska Native ancestors of my wife and daughters’ people.”