Good afternoon, officials of the USGS, the State of Colorado and Clear Creek County! My name is Marrton Dormish — I’m a minister, a fourth-generation Coloradan, and a 17-year resident of the City and County of Broomfield.
Ever since I first learned about the Sand Creek Massacre, I’ve noticed with concern how many Denver-area landmarks have been named after those who facilitated, planned or participated in that infamous 1864 Colorado atrocity against members of the Cheyenne and Arapaho nations. No landmark is more prominent in the Denver Metro Area than the majestic 14,271-foot mountain named in honor of John Evans, Colorado’s territorial governor and superintendent of Indian Affairs from 1862-1865. The mountain’s scooped-out western face was my north star when I grew up near Hampden Avenue and I-25 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.
While several prior efforts to change the name of this iconic peak have failed, I’ve been encouraged to learn of a renaming effort led by members of the Cheyenne and Arapaho nations. I wholeheartedly support their campaign and will be encouraging my congregation and other community partners to do the same. I urge you and your appropriate governing bodies to officially change the name of Mount Evans, as well as all associated roads and landmarks, and to do so as soon as possible. One more day is too long for that beautiful peak to bear a name condoning and elevating settler-colonial oppression. (“Blue Sky Mountain” is my favorite of the proposed “new” names for this important landmark, both for its literal descriptive value and for the special significance the name “Blue Sky” holds for the Cheyenne, Arapaho and Ute nations.)
Please during this process especially consider and center the voices and perspectives of our Indigenous neighbors. Despite being forcibly displaced from the Front Range of Colorado, they still know this breathtaking region as their homeland.