According to a recent story in the Huffington Post, Venezuela’s President, Hugo Chavez wants to rename the world’s largest waterfalls. They’ve been referred to as Angel Falls since 1933 when Missouri-born pilot, Jimmie Angel, “discovered” them. According to Chavez, the falls were actually discovered and named long before Angel’s plane descended upon the scene. The Pemon Indians named the waterfalls Kerepakupai-Meru.
Chavez said about the falls, “One could say he [Angel] was the first one to see it from a plane, but how many millions of indigenous eyes saw it?” In asking people to change how they referred to the falls, Mr. Chavez said, “We should change that name, right? With all respect to that man who came, who saw it.”
I imagined these falls were named because of their celestial beauty, and thus, the reference to the word angel. And Angel Falls certainly is a lot easier to remember. But I’m all for change and certainly for respecting the indigenous people who originally named these falls. Besides, with today’s more exotic and trendy names, the syllabic, hyphenated Kerepakupai-Meru, is definitely much more hip.