A tribal council of the Cherokee Nation has voted to ask the U.S. Board of Geographic Names to restore their traditional name for the highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, one which has spiritual and historical significance to the tribe.
Now called Clingman's Dome, it was renamed in 1859 after a North Carolina senator who was later expelled from the Senate and fought against the U.S. as a Confederate general. Its original name was Kuwahi, meaning 'mulberry place.'
The resolution, by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Council, A spokesperson for the Council told press that during the Trail of Tears, the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation to Oklahoma, Kuwahi was a place of hiding and refuge for many who resisted the removal and remained behind.
"Naming the mountain after (Clingman) sort of strips down all of the history of the Cherokee people," he said. "It undermines everything that our people are in order to rename it after someone with zero ties to our community. He didn't even live here."