"Hotels generally don’t figure prominently in my imagination, but Yosemite Valley does, and so does the glamorous Ahwahnee Hotel. When my father took me on Yosemite climbing trips in the 1980s, we never stayed at the Ahwahnee — it costs a fortune — but Dad always brought clean dress shirts so that we could hang out in the Ahwahnee’s kitschy Indian Room Bar before we slept illegally under the evergreens.
My parents even celebrated their 50th anniversary at the Ahwahnee, so I could be annoyed that the National Park Service recently renamed it the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, an exquisitely vapid choice. For reasons stemming from a contract dispute, the Park Service simultaneously renamed four other sites that have been dear to California families like mine for generations. So I could be outraged: They’re messing with my heritage!
Instead, I’m thrilled. The whole dumb episode is an opportunity for the National Park Service to dump dozens of place names that are the linguistic equivalents of Confederate statues. Much as those statues honor men willing to kill and die in defense of slavery, names like Ahwahnee falsify and celebrate the slaughter and land theft upon which our national parks were built."