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When It Comes To Renaming Controversial Monuments, Some Have Doubts

DENVER (CBS4)– Gov. Jared Polis signed an Executive Order on Thursday that will create the Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board. The board will evaluate proposals on name changes on controversial places and geographical locations, new names, and make recommendations to the governor regarding those changes.

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Currently there is a campaign to change Colorado's fifth highest peak: Mount Evans. In 1884, U.S. Army Colonel John Chivington and the 3rd Colorado Cavalry attacked and destroyed a village of Cheyenne and Arapaho people in southeastern Colorado, the Sand Creek massacre. Chivington was appointed by Colorado Territory Gov. John Evans.

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Tink Tinker (credit: CBS)

Tink Tinker is with the American Indian Movement, or AIM. He says their organization has been fighting for these changes for over 30 years. Tinker says his name has been brought up as a possible member of the Governor's advisory board, but he has his doubts.

"I have to say I'm skeptical, I'm skeptical of what it will be allowed to do. I'm skeptical that there will be so many voices that native voices for change will be nullified," he told CBS4's Dominic Garcia.

The Board shall consist of up to 15 members and may include:

  • Three representatives from the Colorado General Assembly, two of which must represent each of the major political parties;
  • Two representatives of local governments;
  • One representative from the Colorado Commission for Indian Affairs;
  • One representative from the Center of the American West;
  • One representative from the Colorado Geological Survey;
  • One representative from the tourism and outdoor recreation industry;
  • Two representatives who have a background in race or ethnic studies or who are from an institution of cultural learning that focuses on traditionally underrepresented or displaced communities; and
  • The Executive Director of the Department of Natural Resources or his or her designee.
  • The Executive Director of the Department of Local Affairs or his or her designee.
  • The Director of the Colorado Tourism Office or his or her designee.

"This new board will play a critical role in the ongoing celebration of our Colorado history through place names and ensure that we have inclusivity and transparency around the naming process," said Polis in a statement.

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Tinker hopes this will lead to change, but it's something he's heard before.

"I think it's a step in the right direction and I applaud the governor for taking that step. But it remains to be seen whether it really matters or if it's just a structural way to put off any more protests," he told CBS4's Dominic Garcia.


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