Mount Evans, which sits just west of Denver and takes its name from a controversial territorial governor who was forced to resign in the wake of the Sand Creek Massacre, is one step closer to bearing a new name.
The Clear Creek County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to support a recommendation that the mountain be renamed Mount Blue Sky, Commissioner Randall Wheelock told The Denver Post.
An attorney for the county then shared the commissioners’ support with the newly revived state renaming board, Gov. Jared Polis and the federal Board on Geographic Names, which is the last step in the process, Wheelock said.
Wheelock said he hopes the new name is finalized this year and said in the decades that he’s lived in Clear Creek County he never knew much about the mountain’s namesake.
“It wasn’t until renaming that I finally learned that history,” Wheelock said. “It’s never been written until now.”
The landmark is named for John Evans, a territorial governor who resigned after U.S. Soldiers in southeastern Colorado attacked and killed hundreds of Cheyenne and Arapaho people after a peace deal had been reached in 1864. The new name under consideration came from the Mestaa’ehehe Coalition. Other alternatives proposed included Mount Cheyenne-Arapaho, Mount Rosalie and Mount Soule.
Mount Evans is just one of several places in Colorado undergoing the name change process. Others include Kit Carson Mountain and the Gore Range. Efforts to rename landmarks and places named for controversial figures is gaining momentum in Colorado and across the rest of the country.
With Gov. Jared Polis’ approval in October, the Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board greenlit an effort to rename Squaw Mountain in Clear Creek County to Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain. The next month Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland declared the word “squaw,” which appears on hundreds of landmarks and locations across the country, to be a derogatory term and asked for the name to be replaced in all federal lands using it.
If the state board approves the move to rename the Mount Evans as Mount Blue Sky, it will pass the proposal to Polis, representatives for whom did not say Wednesday whether he approves the proposal. If the governor does approve, it would then go before the federal Board on Geographic Names, the last step in the process.
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