Before Bristol Bay Book - Page 24

Throughout Alaska , there is a movement to document Native place names — to preserve our rich history and heritage .

In some cases , Native place names are officially reclaimed and used .

The highest mountain in North America was known as Mount McKinley for more than a century . Its place name was reclaimed in 2015 . Future generations will know it on maps and in common reference by its Koyukon Athabaskan name : Denali , the Great One .

The people of Utqiagvik , the northernmost city in the United States , reclaimed the name of their community in 2016 . For more than a century , it had been known as Barrow . Now Alaskans know Utqiagvik for its original Iñupiaq name , which references a place for gathering roots . Imagine how important this place name was for generations of Iñupiat living in the harsh conditions north of the Arctic Circle .

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Curyung – Where the Water Turns Murky Where the Nushagak and Wood rivers meet in southwestern Alaska, there is a place called Curyung. In Yugtun, the language of the Yup’ik people, Curyung means “murky water” or is described as the “the place where the water turns murky.” There, the glacial silty sediments from upriver mix together to create murky water, which then spills into Bristol Bay. Eventually, the nearby U.S. post office was renamed after a 19th century Senator, and the local town began to be referenced by the same name. That is how the place called Curyung came to be widely known as Dillingham. This information was shared by Courtenay Carty, Tribal Administrator for Curyung Tribal Council. 22 | Aerial view near Curyung (Dillingham), Alaska. Photo: Anchorage Daily News | 23