By Michael Abeyta

CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– The Ute, Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes are just some of the people living in Colorado long before any of the famous 14er peaks were named. Now there’s a campaign to change Colorado’s fifth highest peak: Mount Evans.

(credit: CBS)

“This is our original homeland. This is where we are from,” Karen Little Coyote told CBS4 in November 2018.

(credit: CBS)

When American settlers showed up, the Native Americans were driven out of their ancestral lands, many of them massacred. One of those was the Sand Creek Massacre.

(credit: Colorado State Archives)

In 1884, U.S. Army Colonel John Chivington and the 3rd Colorado Cavalry attacked and destroyed a village of Cheyenne and Arapaho people in southeastern Colorado. Chivington was appointed by Colorado Territory Gov. John Evans.

(credit: CBS)

Karen Little Coyote’s ancestor was killed in the massacre. It’s a story she knows well but still gets her choked up when she tells it.

“She was crying. She said, ‘Don’t forget us. Don’t forget us.’ That gets me every time,” said Little Coyote.

(credit: Colorado State Archives)

In November 2018, school teacher Kathleen Tynan-Ridgeway proposed to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names a name change for Mount Evans, due to Evans’ role in the massacre.

Little Coyote thinks it is a good idea, “We would like very much to see things changed, names changed.”

Headstone for John Evans (credit: CBS)

According to March and April meeting minutes from the board, another name change proposal has been made for the peak. A woman has proposed Mount Soule after one captain who refused to participate and later attempted to hold Chivington accountable for the killings.

John Evans (credit – Colorado State Archives)

Tynan-Ridgeway says she still wants to see a name change from Evans and is currently working with native leaders to come up with a replacement.

Michael Abeyta

Comments (3)
  1. Roger May says:

    How about leaving the name and educating all those who disagree with the facts of the whole political settings of the time? There were others here in Colorado BEFORE the Utes, Cheyenne and Arapahoe. Lets get a name from them!

  2. Gary Arpon says:

    It could be renamed Warren Peak to honor a famous “current” Indian.

  3. Codswallop Hogwash says:

    Typical distortion. Governor Evans only ordered the Colorado troops to go after the Cheyenne and Arapahoe because of their slaughtering and mutilating of innocent Whites who were travelling across the planes, or were farming and ranching under an agreement made with those Indians/Native Americans in 1858. Governor Evans was an honorable man, who did the right thing. And Sand Creek wasn’t a massacre. It was a battle where all the men ran away, leaving the women and some children to fight, which many of them did.

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