Efforts to Rename Mt. Evans to Mt. Blue Sky

Updated: Feb 24

UNA-BC actively supports efforts by the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes and The Wilderness Society to rename Mount Evans. Despite receiving the title as one of Colorado’s most beautfiul landmarks, Mt. Evans has darker natural and cultural signficance relating to the Sand Creek Massacre. To work towards dismantling structural racism, Mount Evans should be renamed to recognize the Indigenous Americans who were forcefully removed from their homelands in 1867.

Mount Evans received its name from John Evans, the previous territorial governor of Colorado who permitted and enabled the indiscriminate massacre of Indigenous Americans. In 1864, Evans warned all peaceful Indigenous Americans in the region to report to the Sand Creek reserve or face attack. However, Evans’ promise for sanctuary concealed duplicitous political maneuverings, as he primarily sought to eliminate all Indigenous American activities in eastern Colorado Territory. He hoped this accomplishment would improve his popularity and eventually gain him a U.S. senate seat. .

At the same time, Evans organized local militias to wage war on the Indigenous Americans, bestowing the new regiment to Colonel John Chivington. Cheyenne leader Mo’ohtavetoo’o (Black Kettle) and his people accepted Evan’s offer of amnesty and traveled to Fort Lyon in Eastern Colorado. When Chivington subsequently found this peaceful village camped at Big Sandy Creek, he concluded that they would be a legitimate and easy target. Despite Black Kettle raising an American flag and white flag to signal peaceful intentions, Chivington attacked, killing hundreds of Cheyenne and Arapaho men, women, and children.

Two Congressional committees and one military committee found Colonel Chivington guilty of deliberately planning and executing one of the worst massacres in American history. While Evans declared his innocence before the committees, he was accused of initiating the Sand Creek Massacre and concealing his role in the attacks. In 1865, Evans was widely condemned and forced to retire in disgrace.

The proposal hopes to rename Mt. Evans to Mt. Blue Sky. It signifies the Arapaho who were known as “the Blue Sky People” and the Cheyenne who hold an “annual ceremony of renewal of life called Blue Sky.”

Visit Mount Blue Sky for additional background information about the renaming efforts of Mount Evans and the multiple ways you can support this effort. Please visit the quick links attached below:


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