New name would recognize history of Colorado’s indigenous people
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet cheered Governor Jared Polis’ official recommendation to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to change the name of Mount Evans to Mount Blue Sky.
“The names we give Colorado’s greatest landmarks should honor the entirety of our history. Mount Blue Sky acknowledges the Native peoples who first called Colorado home. The act of renaming the mountain altogether helps directly face a very dark part of our history,” said Hickenlooper.
“The renaming of Mt. Evans to Mount Blue Sky is an important step in addressing the wrongs done to the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes and Native people across the country. This was a thoughtful process, led by local Colorado communities and Tribes, and I’m grateful to everyone who contributed to this moment,” said Bennet.
The U.S. Board on Geographic Names will make the final decision on the name of Colorado’s fourteenth highest peak. The Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes and The Wilderness Society first proposed the new name, which holds significance to both tribes.
The peak is currently named for the second territorial Governor of Colorado John Evans, who promoted policies encouraging the murder of Native Americans, paving the way for Colorado’s Sand Creek Massacre. On November 29, 1864, U.S. soldiers killed 230 Cheyenne and Arapaho people at Sand Creek — most of them women, children, and the elderly.
Hickenlooper and Bennet continue to work to bring awareness to the Sand Creek Massacre in an effort to tell the whole of Colorado’s history. Last October, the senators joined Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and tribal leaders at the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site to remember the 1864 massacre and announce the addition of almost 3,500 acres to the site.