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Cherokee Tribal Council takes ‘significant step’ toward renaming Clingmans Dome

by: Hope McAlee

Posted: Jan 10, 2024 / 12:34 PM EST

Updated: Jan 11, 2024 / 04:45 PM EST

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Council has taken a “significant step forward” to renaming Clingmans Dome, according to a statement released by the tribe.

The Tribal Council voted unanimously on a resolution to approve the submittal of an application to change the name of Clingmans Dome to “Kuwohi” on January 4.

In the Cherokee language, “Kuwohi” translates to “Mulberry Place,” a spokesperson for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) explained.

“Lavita Hill and Mary Crowe, both EBCI enrolled members, submitted an earlier resolution in 2022 to the Tribal Council which officially began the process of exploring the possibility of petitioning the federal government to restore the name of Kuwohi and effort to return the rightful name to Clingman’s Dome,” EBCI said.

EBCI added that the passing of the resolution on January 4 was a “significant step forward” in achieving that goal.

County commissions in both Tennessee and North Carolina have shared support for the EBCI’s efforts to return the name of the mountain to “Kuwohi,” the name used by the Cherokee people for thousands of years. Previously, it was reported that the summit was historically a sacred place for the Cherokee people.

If the proposal to the federal government is accepted, the highest mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains would follow in the footsteps of Denali, which has already had its Indigenous name restored. The traditional Koyukon Athabascan name “Denali” was restored by the U.S. Department of the Interior to what was previously known as Mount McKinley in Alaska in 2015. To learn more about these two mountains, click here.