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Efforts To Rename Mount Evans In Colorado Moves Forward

George Curtis Levi

During the formation of the United States, many landmarks were named after white settlers. Local Native activists believe changing these names will be a first step in reckoning with a racist history.

Mount Evans in Colorado was named after territorial Governor John Evans in 1895. Thirty years after his part in inciting the Sand Creek Massacre in which Cheyenne and Arapaho women and children were killed by the U.S. Army one of Colorado's highest peaks was named after him. Native activists now say the name should be changed.

Crystal C'Bearing is with the Northern Arapaho Tribal Historic Preservation and is an advocate to change Mount Evans to Mount Blue Sky. She said that the Sand Creek Massacre should not be celebrated.

"It's really looked down upon now that there's more education about it. So that was the efforts with this in correlation with Mount Evans. Just changing the name because it should not be looked at as a great time in our history," C'Bearing said.

She also said that many trails, mountains, and rivers in the United States had names before settlers arrived and that changing Mount Evans name is a step in the right direction.

"They did put in a petition with the board of geographic names for Mount Blue Sky. And the reason why it was chosen was because the Arapaho were known as the Blue Sky People," C'Bearing said.

The petition is now under review and more information can be accessed here.

Taylar Dawn Stagner is a central Wyoming rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has degrees in American Studies, a discipline that interrogates the history and culture of America. She was a Native American Journalist Association Fellow in 2019, and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her Modern West podcast episode about drag queens in rural spaces in 2021. Stagner is Arapaho and Shoshone.
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