Murkowski Welcomes Official Recognition of Denali

Senator Lisa Murkowski today welcomed President Obama’s recognition of Denali as the name of North America’s tallest peak.  Denali, meaning “the great one” or “the high one,” is the ancestral name given to the mountain by Alaska’s Koyukon Athabascans.

While on Denali’s Ruth Glacier, Senator Murkowski responded to the administration’s decision to restore the mountain’s traditional name, saying:

“For centuries, Alaskans have known this majestic mountain as the ‘Great One.’ Today we are honored to be able to officially recognize the mountain as Denali. I’d like to thank the President for working with us to achieve this significant change to show honor, respect, and gratitude to the Athabascan people of Alaska.”

(Click image to watch video)

BACKGROUND:  Senator Murkowski has long advocated for Denali to officially be called Denali.  She re-introduced legislation in the 114th Congress to officially rename the mountain as Denali.  At a legislative hearing she convened of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on June 10, 2015, an official from the National Park Service, located within the Department of Interior’s jurisdiction, testified that “The Department respects the choice made by this legislation, and does not object to S. 319.”

Murkowski’s efforts are part of a long-standing effort by Alaskans to rename Denali.  In 1975, the State of Alaska officially recognized “Denali” as the name of the peak, and requested action by the U.S. Board of Geographic Names to do the same.  In 1980, Congress changed the name of Mount McKinley National Park to Denali National Park and Preserve.