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“It’s time to rename Mount Evans. There is no place to honor those who facilitated atrocities against Native Americans on public lands.”

— Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes & The Wilderness Society

Official Mount Blue Sky Proposal

The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, along with the Wilderness Society submitted a proposal to rename Mount Evans to Mount Blue Sky in 2020. Colorado is a part of the homelands of the Cheyenne and Arapaho. They were forcefully removed from these lands in 1867.

Sand Creek Massacre – November 29, 1864

At the same time Evans was declaring war against Native Americans and organizing local militias to carry it out, Colonel John Chivington, commander of the Colorado Military District declared martial law, which usurped Evans’ vigilante forces into an organized militia. Chivington then turned that militia against the Native Americans of the plains. The results were disastrous.

The militia found hundreds of peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho camped at Big Sandy Creek. The Native Americans had moved to the Big Sandy after reporting to Ft. Lyons—as ordered by Governor Evans’ first proclamation—and being ordered by the military commander there to do so. Upon seeing the army amassing above their camp, Cheyenne leader Mo’ohtavetoo’o (Black Kettle) raised an American flag and a white flag to signal their peaceful intentions. Despite this, Chivington directed the force to attack.

Hundreds of Cheyenne and Arapaho men, women, and children were mutilated and killed. One soldier later recounted the scene before Congress: “I saw the bodies of those lying there cut all to pieces, worse mutilated than any I ever saw before; the women cut all to pieces…[cut] with knives; scalped; their brains knocked out; children two or three months old; all ages lying there, from sucking infants up to warriors…[mutilated] by the United States troops.” Many similar accounts exist, each portraying the most vicious and inhumane treatment imaginable

The event was soon recognized as a brutal massacre. Two Congressional committees and one military committee investigated the event, recognizing guilt on the part of the United States. The Joint Committee on the Conduct of War wrote of Colonel Chivington that they could “hardly find fitting terms to describe his conduct.” “Chivington,” the committee wrote, “deliberately planned and executed a foul and dastardly massacre…to gratify the worst passions that ever cursed the heart of man.”

Evans testified before the committees and proclaimed his innocence. Nonetheless, he was accused of creating the conditions upon which the Sand Creek Massacre took place and of covering up his involvement in the attack. The Joint Committee on the Conduct of War said, in its final report, that “no effort seems to have been made by the authorities there to prevent these hostilities, other than by the commission of even worse acts. The hatred of the whites to the Indians would seem to have been inflamed and excited to the utmost.” It was John Evans who created these conditions.

The Chairman of the Joint Commission demanded that Governor Evans be removed from office. In 1865, Governor Evans was forced to resign in disgrace.

Recorded Webinars

The Other Side of the Story: The Genocide of Indigenous People in Colorado

We can’t change the past. However, we can learn more about Colorado’s colonial history to better understand what happened to Indigenous People living within the state and how this colonial violence impacts Indigenous People today. Join us as we hear from some of Colorado’s leading historians Rick Williams (Lakota, Northern Cheyenne), Fred Mosqueda (Southern Arapaho), Chester Whiteman (Southern Cheyenne), and a representative from the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, as they share what they’ve learned – from oral narratives passed from generation to generation, tribal historical preservation efforts, and research. Learn how the ideology of “Manifest Destiny” lead to broken treaties, Governor Evans’ violent proclamations, the Sand Creek Massacre, and the genocide of Indigenous People in Colorado.


During this webinar, we will discuss common misconceptions around the LANDBACK movement with Indigenous activists and leaders working within their local communities. You’ll learn that LANDBACK is a powerful, complex, and effective means of present-day reparations. It is much more than broken treaties and property boundaries. It is a call for the return of cultures, languages, food, education, and all that was stolen to be returned to Indigenous people, while also a call for a paradigm shift. LANDBACK encourages everyone to step away from the rugged, individualistic “Manifest Destiny” mentality to one of honoring and respecting the land and one another.

As we work together to honor sacred spaces by working to remove harmful place names, we invite you to learn more about how LANDBACK extends the same honor to the land, too. We invite you to learn more so you, too, can become a better steward of this land. 

The Importance of Renaming

During this webinar, you’ll learn more about Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) and Hinono’eiteen (Arapaho) history in present-day Colorado, the renaming process, and how you can support tribal efforts in Clear Creek County. We’ll also discuss the importance of renaming Mt. Evans and Sq**w Mountain and how this is a step towards healing and reconciliation between the Tsétsêhéstâhese and Hinono’eiteen peoples and the state of Colorado.

The Life and Times of Chief Left Hand

The 19th century saw many drastic and destructive changes to the Front Range.  With so many changes, it can be difficult to keep track of who did what and how it related to other events.  Here is a visualization of the time period.  It starts at the beginning of the 1800s and continues through to the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864.  It’s centered on Chief Left Hand but also includes other prominent people of the time, such as Chief Black Kettle, Evans, and Chivington.

References: Rocky Mountain PBS “Colorado Experience: Sand Creek Massacre”; “Chief Left Hand,” Margaret Coel; Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes and The Wilderness Society Proposal for Mt. Blue Sky;
Niwot (Left Hand)” Colorado Encyclopedia

Mestaa'ėhehe Coalition

The Mestaa'ėhehe Coalition brings together tribal representatives from the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, Denver Area Indigenous Leaders, and allies to rename Mt. Evans as Mt. Blue Sky. The Coalition was established in the summer of 2020, and successfully worked to rename Sq__ Mountain to Mestaa'ėhehe Mountain and advises on other renaming efforts in Colorado.


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