DENVER (CBS4)– Gov. Jared Polis signed an Executive Order on Thursday that will create the Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board. The board will evaluate proposals on name changes on controversial places and geographical locations, new names, and make recommendations to the governor regarding those changes.
“This new board will play a critical role in the ongoing celebration of our Colorado history through place names and ensure that we have inclusivity and transparency around the naming process,” said Polis in a statement. “This bi-partisan board will ensure that a broad spectrum of Coloradans, local communities, and Colorado’s land-based Tribes can collaborate on any potential naming or renaming of Colorado geological points or landmarks.”
Currently there is a campaign to change Colorado’s fifth highest peak: Mount Evans. 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, the Sand Creek massacre. Chivington was appointed by Colorado Territory Gov. John Evans.
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.
The Executive Order reads, “The Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board (Board) will assist and cooperate with the United States Board on Geographic Names (USBGN) by evaluating all proposals concerning name changes, new names, and name controversies of geographic features and certain public places in the State of Colorado (State) and then making official recommendations to the Governor. The USBGN has final approval authority for place naming for federal maps and products.”
The Board shall consist of up to 15 members and may include:
- Three representatives from the Colorado General Assembly, two of which must represent each of the major political parties;
- Two representatives of local governments;
- One representative from the Colorado Commission for Indian Affairs;
- One representative from the Center of the American West;
- One representative from the Colorado Geological Survey;
- One representative from the tourism and outdoor recreation industry;
- Two representatives who have a background in race or ethnic studies or who are from an institution of cultural learning that focuses on traditionally underrepresented or displaced communities; and
- The Executive Director of the Department of Natural Resources or his or her designee.
- The Executive Director of the Department of Local Affairs or his or her designee.
- The Director of the Colorado Tourism Office or his or her designee.
Read the Governor’s Executive Order.