A renowned West Australian landmark named after a Belgian King who was responsible for atrocities that led to the death of millions of Africans has now been renamed to honour its Aboriginal heritage.
The King Leopold Ranges in WA’s far-north Kimberley region will now be known as the Wunaamin Miliwundi Ranges.
It comes amid a period of global reckoning for historic injustices perpetrated by colonial figures, which has been fuelled by the Black Lives Matter movement.
The ranges were named in 1879 in honour of Belgian monarch Leopold II, who was responsible for brutally oppressing and enslaving people in the now-Democratic Republic of the Congo during its period under European rule.
WA Aboriginal affairs minister Ben Wyatt said it was important to acknowledge and promote the traditional owners’ connection to the land.
“It has troubled me for years that an extraordinary area of Western Australia should be named in honour of a person who is widely regarded as an evil tyrant with no connection to our state,” he said on Friday.
“The traditional owners of the region have always known the ranges by their own name, so it’s momentous to finally remove reference to King Leopold II and formalise the name.”
The name was chosen after consultation with the Wilinggin Aboriginal Corporation and Bunuba Native Title Corporation.
It incorporates the Ngarinyin (Wunaamin) and Bunuba (Miliwundi) traditional names.