6 name proposals considered to replace Mount Evans including Mount Blue Sky
The official process to consider renaming Mount Evans is underway. Colorado's Geographic Naming Advisory Board is considering six proposals for a new name.
The board started meetings on Tuesday which followed a weekend in which Native Americans walked from the site of the Sand Creek Massacre to Mount Evans calling for change. Most of the group favors the name "Mount Blue Sky" suggested by the Cheyenne-Arapaho tribe.
The move to change the name of Evans has been talked about for a while. The Denver American Indian Commission wrote in support of changing the name four years ago, writing "It's time to discontinue using Evans' name because we do not honor mass killing of human life for any reason. Colorado's interest in promoting inclusivity is stronger than any prior interest in honoring a man who is known for politically targeting Tribes (Utes, Cheyenne, Arapaho and Lakota) with messages of hate and fear, of which directly resulted in a massacre of over 160 people, including mostly women and children."
That number has been revised to 230 tribe members killed
Evans' role in the Sand Creek Massacre eventually led to his removal as territorial governor. But the name has stood. The mountain dominates the Front Range from the Denver metro area.
"The people have spoken today and said, 'You know, it's time to change this.' Mount Evans is an afront to Cheyenne and Arapaho people but it's also a disservice to the people of Colorado. And the people who remember the past and honor the past," said historian and tribal consultant Andy Masich. "So, it's altogether fitting and proper we believe that Mount Evans be changed, the name be changed."
Descendants are working to have the mountain renamed, including a man whose great-grandfather saved his wife by lassoing a running horse.
"Pulled it in and helped my great grandmother get on and she left with the herd... they found her. I don't know when but days later she was still with the herd and as you know, it was wintertime, and they had to pry her off the horse because she was frozen, almost frozen on the horse. and she was pregnant with my grandfather," said Sand Creek Massacre descendant Otto Braided Hair.
"We should not be naming mountains that are either streets or mountains for this flawed John Evans who had every intention of killing Indians," said American Indian scholar Dr. Tink Tinker.
There are six possibilities for the board to consider. They are; Mount Blue Sky, Mount Cheyenne-Arapaho, Mount Rosalie, Mount Sisty, and Mount Soule and Mount Evans (but named for the daughter of John Evans.)
The next meeting is Nov. 17 where the panel will hear from people who have submitted the six name proposals and hear public comment.
The board will have several meetings on the issue before potentially recommending a change to the governor. If Gov. Jared Polis signs off, it would go to the US Geological Survey's U.S. Board on Geographic Names. That is where naming takes place.
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