Obama to rename tallest US peak

Washington, Aug 31 (IANS) US President Barack Obama is set to restore the name of the tallest North American mountain peak — Mount McKinley in Alaska — to the native Alaskan name of “Denali”, the media reported on Monday.

According to a statement issued by the White House on Sunday, President Obama is scheduled to arrive in the Alaskan capital of Anchorage later on Monday where he is scheduled to officially rename the mountain, Chicago Tribune reported.

Mount Denali, an Athabascan name used by generations of Alaskan natives, means “the great one”.

The White House statement said the renaming of the peak is aimed at improving relations with Native Americans. As a central part of the Athabascan creation story, Denali carries cultural importance to many Alaska natives.

In 1896, a prospector in the mountains of central Alaska named the range after William McKinley upon learning that he had been nominated as a candidate for US president.

McKinley became the country’s 25th president and was assassinated six months into his second term. The 20,000-foot-tall peak had been previously known as Denali — generally believed to be central to the Athabascan tribe’s creation story and the site of significant cultural importance to many Alaska natives, the White House added.

The president will stay in Alaska until Wednesday.

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