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Denali and America’s Long History of Using (or Not Using) Indian Names

September 3, 2015

Buffalo Doug

Mt. McKinley now returns to its original name: Denali. The State of Alaska wanted this, but some question the name shift. Doug Herman at Smithsonian.com provides a fascinating historical reminder of Americans, Indians, and place names, in the course of which he reminds us of one irony among many:

The story of naming places in the newly created United States after 1776 is one of forging a new identity. And yet, ironically, that identity is inextricably linked to Indians. No better example than the Boston Tea Party—the catalytic moment in which white Americans began molding a national identity—in which Bostonians employed Indian-ness as a rejection of European consciousness. The icon of the Indian conveyed a revolutionary message and was used to represent the colonial opposition to British rule.

For Herman’s entire piece, see here: Denali and America’s Long History of Using (or Not Using) Indian Names | At the Smithsonian…

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