By Jesse Sarles

(CBS4) – Two Colorado Indian tribes have filed an official petition with the U.S. Board of Geographic Names to change the name of Mount Evans. The iconic 14er on Colorado’s Front Range is one of only a few in the state that’s accessible by road.

(credit: CBS)

Mount Evans, Colorado’s fifth highest peak, is named after Territorial Governor John Evans, who is responsible for conducting the strategy during the Sand Creek Massacre. 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 Evans.

Those tribes want to change the name of the mountain to Mount Blue Sky. The Arapaho people were known as the Blue Sky People and the Cheyenne call one of their special ceremonies Blue Sky.

“It is time to rename Mount Evans and remove the stain of this name from our public lands,” said Paul Spitler, director of wilderness policy at The Wilderness Society, in a prepared statement. “No name can undo the pain and suffering caused by the Sand Creek Massacre, but removing the name of the man most responsible for the massacre honors the very tribes that Evans sought to destroy. There is no place to honor perpetrators of atrocities on America.”

Jesse Sarles