By Dillon Thomas
CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– A campaign has launched to change the name of one of Colorado’s most iconic 14ers: Mount Evans.
The 14,265-foot mountain is named after territorial Gov. John Evans. His role in the Sand Creek Massacre has prompted the name change request.
Some Native Americans said changing the name would bring healing to a population that still lives with open wounds.
“This is our original homeland. This is where we are from,” said Karen Little Coyote, Sand Creek Representative for the Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes. “All this land belongs to us.”
Little Coyote said, while the effort to change the name faces an uphill battle, she felt doing so would be best for everyone involved.
“We would like, very much, to see things changed. Names changed,” Little Coyote said. “It would definitely help us heal. We do this so our ancestors are not forgotten.”
Little Coyote said tales of dying Native Americans during the massacre still bring tears to her eyes.
“(The woman) was crying. She said, ‘Don’t forget us. Do not forget us.’ That gets me every time. That is why we do this. Because, we don’t forget her.”
However, not everyone was immediately on board with the idea of changing the name.
One viewer took to CBS4’s Facebook page to give her opinion on why it should stay Mount Evans.
“History is our past. (Good. Bad. And Ugly.) We just can’t change, or remove, everything because it’s not perfect. It should remain Mt. Evans,” that viewer wrote.
However, Little Coyote encouraged the public to research Evans’ role during the Sand Creek Massacre, and evaluate whether or not he should be so highly held in Colorado society.
“It would mean so much,” Little Coyote said. “(You have to) know where you came from, to know where you are going.”
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.