The Anchorage Assembly majority has decided it’s time to pick some better names for places in Anchorage. In today’s politically correct parlance, that typically means assigning indigenous names from languages that are essentially dead.
“The map of Anchorage is characterized by the place names we’ve chosen over the years. Streets, parks, rivers, lakes and buildings are named in reflection of our community’s values,” the Assembly said, indicating in its press release that the Assembly members are unhappy that places are named after individuals and not indigenous place names.
Thus, a naming commission is being created by ordinance to select new names for public places. Perhaps Cuddy Park could get a dual name from a Dena’ina word that describes it.
The renaming of Anchorage has been part of the Anchorage Park Foundation’s mission for several years with its Indigenous Place Names Project.
The park foundation has placed sculptures in various places in Anchorage with indigenous names. Two are along Chester Creek, denoting the name Chanshtnu, the Dena’ina place name meaning Grassy Creek. Hkaditali, meaning driftwood, is the name for Potter Marsh, referring to the driftwood that was accumulated along the tidal flats. Nuch’ishtunt means a place protected from the wind, and is how the park foundation sees Point Woronzof.
The ordinance seating the naming commission want the members to “select names for public places that impart a sense of historical, cultural or geographical significance considering location, function, Indigenous place names or natural features.”
The naming commission will consist of nine voting members, including:
- A member with a background in history, anthropology, or archaeology
- An Alaska Native culture advisor with knowledge of local Indigenous history and culture
- A person recommended by the Native Village of Eklutna
- A member with expertise in historic preservation
- A member with experience in diversity, equity and inclusion work
- Four community-at-large members from different neighborhoods
“While an amendment was made to clarify that the process does not apply to any pending naming proposals, the commission will be charged with future proposals,” the Assembly notes. Those interested in serving on the naming commission can reach out to the Assembly at [email protected] to get instructions on how to apply.
Do you have suggestions for names of places in Anchorage? Drop them in the comment section below: