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Learn the Original Name Of A Mountain Or A Forest

Aaron Liu

Learning the original names of geographical locations can undo the guise that current names cast over the experiences of indigenous people. Alaska's Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America, is Mount Delani to the Koyukon Athabaskan people. Oregon's Mount Hood is Wy'east to the Multnomah tribe. Mount Rainier was once Mount Tahoma, or Mount Tahkobah, or Mount Takobet, depending on which tribe you confer with (there are several).

It's not just mountains. There's a wealth of information that comes with learning the original names of towns, rivers, forests, lakes, mountains and whatever else colonialism, imperialism, manifest destiny and Western exceptionalism has whitewashed off of our maps. So take a moment to educate yourself about the original name of your hometown. It's an simple step to acquaint yourself with stories and people our maps—and our history—can neglect.

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