Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Here Are Seven Northwest Mountains Named For White Men
Wikimedia Commons
Mount Hood was called Wy'east by local Native Americans.

North America's highest mountain has a new name. Or rather, an old one. President Obama has announced that Alaska's Mount McKinley will now be called Denali, which is what natives call the peak.

Like Denali, mountains in the Pacific Northwest had names before white settlers re-named them.

Both Oregon and Washington's highest mountains are revered by Native Americans who called them Wy’east and Tahoma respectively. But European explorers named the peaks after British naval officers. The namesakes of Mount Hood and Mount Rainier never spent time in this part of the country.

The namesake of Idaho's tallest mountain does have a connection to the state. Mount Borah is named for William Borah, a long-time U.S. senator who died in 1940.

The Northwest also has mountains that like Mount McKinley, were named for U.S. Presidents. Most notably, Oregon's Mount Jefferson and Washington's Mount Adams. There's also a Mount Washington in both Oregon and Washington.