Officials Are Finally Renaming Oregon’s Swastika Mountain

A name is something that we are given at birth and in many cases, it’s one that we live with for the rest of our lives. Some of us love our names and we proudly say them when we are asked. Others, however, may not have been given the name they would have personally selected.

Of course, we always have the option of changing our name and that is also the case with anything else that was named, such as a city or even a sports team. In fact, we have seen this happen more and more frequently in recent years, as we try to become more and more inclusive.

Photo: flickr/U.S. Forest Service- Pacific Northwest Region

This is now being seen in the state of Oregon, just outside of Eugene, where a mountain stands. That mountain is called “Swastika” and as you can imagine, it has drawn a lot of attention for its unusual name.

According to the Smithsonian Magazine, Swastika Mountain was named such in the early 1900s. That was prior to the time that the Nazis used the symbol in a way that really showed the darkness behind what that organization did. As you can imagine, the mountain being named the same as the Nazi symbol has drawn a lot of attention.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

It was named after a cattle rancher in the area, Clayton Burton, who would brand his cattle with a swastika. At one time, the swastika was a symbol of good fortune and many religions used it. Unfortunately, when the Nazi party adopted the symbol as its own, that overshadowed any good that it may have held in the past.

This may make you wonder how Swastika Mountain managed to keep its name for as long as it did. As it turns out, most people who lived in the area didn’t even know that Swastika Mountain existed. According to a press release, however, earlier this year, there were two hikers who were lost in the area and were rescued and it really shined the spotlight on the name.

Photo: flickr/U.S. Forest Service- Pacific Northwest Region

Immediately, residents in Oregon started to lobby to have the name changed. One of those was Joyce MacLean, who heard about the hikers and wrote a formal request to have the name swapped out with something less offensive.

According to KOIN6, one of the options that are on the table is Mount Halo. It was suggested by a tribal official to be named after Chief Halito of the Yoncalla Kalapuya tribe.

They have yet to come up with a definite name for the mountain but it looks as if Swastika is a thing of the past.

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