(CONCHO, OK) The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes commend Colorado Governor Jared Polis and his Geographic Naming Advisory Board for the actions they have taken to recommend renaming Mount Evans in Clear Creek County, Colorado to Mount Blue Sky.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announces his recommendation for the name change of Mount Evans to Mount Blue Sky. The recommendation now heads to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names for a final vote to be held on March 9. (Photo by Riley Hanlon)
“We as Cheyenne and Arapaho people are excited and pleased with the name change recommendation from Colorado Governor Jared Polis. Thank you to all of you who came to the table, zoom meetings and felt this was the best solution to promote healing of our Cheyenne and Arapaho people.” Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Governor Reggie Wassana.
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Gov. Reggie Wassana
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Lt. Gov. Gib Miles
On Nov. 17, 2022, the Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board voted unanimously to rename Mount Evans to Mount Blue Sky. Mount Blue Sky’s name was submitted by the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes. Blue Sky is a name for the Arapaho People, and the name of the Cheyennes’ renewal ceremony.
“Since 1895 when this majestic mountain was named after the second territorial Governor, John Evans, Cheyenne and Arapaho people have had a constant reminder of a dark segment of our tribal history. A reminder of what one person had accomplished by his reluctance to do the duty of his post. Genocide and removal of the Cheyenne and Arapaho people from their homelands. Now we have a Governor who has taken the initiative to do his duty and recommend the renaming of this fabled mountain on the front range of the Rockies, homelands of the Cheyenne and Arapaho. Thank you, Governor Polis, for your recommendation on the renaming to Mount Blue Sky. A name that brings joy and honor to the Cheyenne and Arapaho people, of a ceremony for all living things, and a name of the people whose homelands this mountain overlooks. Mount Blue Sky is for everyone.” Arapaho Cultural Leader Fred Mosqueda
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Arapaho Cultural Representative Fred Mosqueda.
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Cheyenne Cultural Representative Chester Whiteman
About Mount Evans
The 14,625-foot mountain was named for the former Colorado Territorial Governor John Evans. Evans was in office during the unprovoked Sand Creek Massacre by U.S. Army troops. Hundreds of Cheyenne and Arapaho citizens, primarily women, children and elders, were slaughtered. The surprise early morning attack was led by Col. John M. Chivington. Native Americans have worked for decades to petition the state of Colorado to rename Mount Evans.
About the Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board
The 13-member advisory board was formed by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis in July 2020. The purpose of the Board is to help review and vet proposals for geographic and place name changes and new names for the entire state and make recommendations in a timely manner to the governor.
About the Sand Creek Massacre
At daybreak on Nov. 29, 1864, a force of some 600 troops under the command of Colonel Chivington, mostly volunteers, who were nicknamed the “Bloodless Third” regiment, attacked the quiet camps of the Cheyenne and Arapaho. The tribes used driftwood and underbrush as a defense while others crawled into pits dug along the banks of Sand Creek. Big Head, Howling Wolf, Spotted Horse, and other small groups of warriors fought the troops in several desperate struggles near the creek. By afternoon approximately 200 Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal citizens lay dead, the majority of them women and children.
Its aftermath included congressional investigations, public outcry as well as staunch defenders, reprisals, and the removal of a colonel and the resignation of former Colorado Governor John Evans.
Sand Creek also gave rise to a new generation of federal Indian policies and new treaties at the Little Arkansas and Medicine Lodge as well as the next generation of fighters and fights: Beecher Island, The Washita, Summit Springs.
Photo of the opening Sand Creek Exhibition in November 2022 in Denver, Colo.
The United States Board on Geographic Names will hold a final vote regarding the renaming of Mount Evans. The board has the final say on all changes of place names on federal public lands in the United States. To view the March 9, 2023 agenda https://d9-wret.s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/assets/palladium/production/s3fs-public/media/files/DNC%20852_Mar%209%202023_Agenda.pdf
Interviews available from: Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Gov. Reggie Wassana, Arapaho Cultural Leader Fred Mosqueda and Cheyenne Cultural Leader Chester Whiteman
Contact The Office of the Governor Communications Officer Chris RomanNose at 405-422-7928 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 thoughts on “Colorado Gov. Jared Polis recommends renaming Mount Evans to Mount Blue Sky”
Mount Blue Sky represents the Culture and identity of the people that lived there. Keep it tribal so no one forgets the past.
Thanks be to God and many blessings for the Cheyenne and Arapaho!!