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Name Claim to Fame

Posted 05/15/2023 by Ravi Apte

The summit of Mount Evans. photo by John Morrison

Amidst discourse from native tribes, Colorado’s Mount Evans could be facing a name change in the near future.

During March of last year, the process of changing Mount Evans’ name officially began. Clear Creek County voted to change the name of Mount Evans, and the Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board (CGNAB) took on the task. Eventually, the CGNAB landed on the name Mount Blue Sky – another name for the Arapaho Tribe.  However, before the official change could take effect, the South Cheyenne Tribe filed a complaint to the U.S. Board of geographic names. The South Cheyenne took offense to the name Mount Blue Sky as Blue Sky is the name of a cultural ceremony. As of now, the change has been put on hold and no decision has been made. 

Many people don’t know why the name change is needed. The Sand Creek Massacre is one of the darkest events in our state’s history: at least 230 Arapaho and Cheyenne members were killed. The killing was authorizedby Governor Evans, and the public outcry caused him to resign in 1865. Governor Evans is directly responsible for the massacre, which is why it does not make sense to keep the name as it is and why this issue is so important. My AP government peers and I have come up with some solutions to this issue and we would appreciate the input of the TJ community on which one is the best. 

Solution 1: The leaders of both the Arapahoe and the South Cheyenne tribes could work together with the CGNAB to find a name that is agreeable to both tribes. The downside of this solution is that it has been many months since the name change was put on hold and it is unknown how much longer it would take. Bureaucracy is often slow and there’s no guarantee that the change will happen in a timely manner. 

Solution 2: The CGNAB could take the original name they had taken into consideration and put them on the 2024 ballot for the whole state to vote on. Mount Evans is a landmark that the entire state enjoys, so perhaps Coloradans should have input as to what the name change should be. The downside to this solution is that we will have to wait until after the 2024 election to find out what the new name of the mountain will be. Also, it may not not be an important issue to voters, compared to the presidential election. 

Solution 3: This solution is the most creative, but also the most unusual. Instead of changing the name one time for good, we could change the name annually or biannually. This name could be appointed by the governor or state legislature and it could honor somebody that has done something for the good of Colorado. This could be somebody from the past or the present and the naming could become almost a prestigious award. The downside to this solution is that the name would be constantly changing, which could be confusing for people that are not familiar with the history of Colorado or the mountain itself. 

Now that you have read all of our proposed solutions, please fill out the Google Form linked here and vote on which solution you think is the best. Thank you for considering our solutions and providing us and the CGNAB with valuable data which will help solve this issue once and for all.