Hoaxes & Rumors

Mount McKinley becomes “Denali” Again. Hoax Ensues.

Mount McKinley becomes “Denali” Again. Hoax Ensues.

In August 2015, Mount McKinley was officially renamed Denali, a restoration of its original name by which it was originally known until 1917.

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Mt. McKinley Becomes Denali. Again.

Mt. McKinley was officially renamed Denali in August 2015, restoring the name by which it had been known up until 1917. The mountain was originally known as Denali, based on the Koyukon word for “tall” or “high” by the Koyukon Athabaskans who inhabit the region.

In the late 1890’s the peak was unofficially named McKinley in support of presidential candidate William McKinley, who was elected to office that year. In 1917, the name was officially changed to Mount McKinley in honor of at the signing of the National Park Act of February 26, 1917.

The name was changed on a local level back in 1975, but an Ohio congressman from McKinley’s hometown blocked the renaming it on a national level.

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Denali Hoax

Shortly after the new name was announced, an internet meme circulated that claimed the naming was done so by President Obama as some sort of honor to his Kenyan roots. The meme read:

President Barack Obama is Renaming Mt. McKinley to “Denali”

“Denali” is the Kenyan word for “Black Power.” Like and share to spread awareness.

The meme is a flimsy attempt to tie the renaming of the mountain with the birther movement which claims President Obama was born in Kenya. There is no merit to the claim, and there is not even a “Kenyan” language. Denali originates from the Koyukon language, which as of 2015 only has about 300 speakers remaining.

Donald Trump Reaction

Real estate tycoon and Presidential candidate Donald Trump weighed in on the renaming and denounced the move. Trump tweeted, “President Obama wants to change the name of Mt. McKinley to Denali after more than 100 years. Great insult to Ohio. I will change back!” President McKinley was from Ohio, and politicians from that state also derided the decision to remove the president’s name from the mountain.

Not surprisingly, politicians from Alaska praised the move.

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