Republicans are flipping out because the Prez changed the official name of the country's highest mountain from McKinley to its native name, Denali. The freak out seems just another silly manifestation of Obama-hate. Alaska has been asking for the change for over 40 years. And for most people who have any awareness of the peak -- climbers, adventure travelers, National Park visitors -- it has long been "Denali." But if Obama changed, it, it must be evidence of his dictatorial aspirations.
Professor Ben Railton has described the long history of erasure and struggle over preserving indigenous Native names for geographical features. From his essay, I've learned that the state of South Dakota is considering renaming its high point, "Harney Peak" -- which we hiked last summer -- for 19th century native wise man Black Elk. The mountain overlooks Oglala Lakota territory, so that seems appropriate.
Railton concludes about such naming controversies: