With much ballyhoo this week,
President Obama restored the name of America’s highest peak from
Mt. McKinley to the ancient Native Alaskan name, Denali. The White House
explained the cultural importance of ancient names for what many indigenous
peoples consider a sacred place.
We laud President Obama’s
recognition of the importance of indigenous place names, especially in regard to
sacred tribal lands. In the spirit in which he restored the ancient name to Denali,
we urge the President to refrain from using the modern colonialist name,
West Bank, when speaking of the sacred tribal heartlands referred to by its
native Jewish people as Judea and Samaria.
Hint for the uninitiated:
Judea. What might people be called who originated in a place called Judea?