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Mt. Evans is one of the top ’14-teeners” of Colorado. Image courtesy of Pinterest

Governor Polis Recommends Name Change For One of Colorado’s Most Recognizable Summits

In a move intended to recognize the history of Colorado’s indigenous people, Governor Jared Polis has made an official recommendation to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, to change the name of Mount Evans to Mount Blue Sky.

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 peacefully camped at Sand Creek — most of them were women, children, and the elderly.

U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet have both endorsed the recommendation.

“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,” said Hickenlooper. “The act of renaming the mountain altogether helps [us] directly face a very dark part of our history.”

“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, said Bennet. “This was a thoughtful process, led by local Colorado communities and Tribes, and I’m grateful to everyone who contributed to this moment.”

Hickenlooper and Bennet have continued 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.

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. The “Mount Blue Sky” name holds significance to both tribes.