Ever since I first heard about the Sand Creek Massacre — as an adult, mind you, many years after learning a version of Colorado history devoid of sordid events like Sand Creek, Ludlow, et. al. — it’s grated on me when I’ve passed Denver-area landmarks named after men who either facilitated, planned or participated in the officially sanctioned 1864 massacre of members of the Cheyenne and Arapaho nations. No landmark is more prominent in the Denver metro area than the majestic 14,271-foot “Mount Evans,” a peak named in honor of John Evans, Colorado’s territorial governor from 1862-1865. The mountain’s scooped out western face was my north star when I grew up in southeast Denver — as long as I could see the Front Range, and, especially, “Mt. Evans”, I knew which direction was west. I can still see it on a clear day from my adopted hometown of Broomfield.
Several efforts to change the name of this iconic peak over the years have failed, but I’m hopeful a new attempt initiated by Kate Tynan-Ridgeway, a Denver elementary school teacher, will ultimately succeed. As several Denver-area media recently reported (see here, here, here and here), Tynan-Ridgeway’s name-change proposal has garnered preliminary support from members of several important groups, including Denver Parks and Recreation, the Denver Indian Commission, the Colorado Indian Center, and the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations of Oklahoma.
To join me in registering your support of Tynan-Ridgeway’s Proposal 9463 to officially change the name of Mt. Evans, email the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, part of the U.S. Geological Survey.