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Name change stalls for Mount Evans

The Colorado Board approved changing Mount Evans to Mount Blue Sky but delayed the change after it received a request from a tribal government.

COLORADO, USA — The years-long battle to rename an iconic 14er continues – a Colorado board approved to change Mount Evans to Mount Blue Sky. The mountain was named after John Evans, who was Colorado's territorial governor at the time of the Sand Creek Massacre. 

But the final vote by the national board to approve Mount Blue Sky has stalled. 

"Blue Sky gives respect to history and also brings us to the present as a people," said Sarah Ortegon. 

Ortegon is an enrolled Eastern Shoshone. She's also northern Arapahoe. Last year she painted what she hoped would be the future, a mural changing Mount Evans to Mount Blue Sky.

Credit: Mark Zoleta

The name change was approved by Colorado's Geographic Naming Advisory Board, now it faces a battle. 

The national board was supposed to approve it last week but the vote was abruptly canceled after the board received a request from a tribal government.

Our partners at the Denver Gazette report that the request came from the Northern Cheyenne. They believe naming it Mount Blue Sky would be sacrilege because the term is part of the Cheyenne Arrow Ceremony. 

Ortegon doesn't fully agree.

"So the name Blue Sky which is also translation for the Blue Sky people is the Hinono'eino or Inun-ina the Blue Sky people, the Arapahoe people," she explained. "Blue Sky is also a public ceremony that the Cheyenne hold every spring and so it's a public ceremony it's not a ceremony kept private and so because this is a public mountain I believe that gives respect to the name, Blue Sky." 

For now, Blue Sky will remain an idea. But Ortegon hoped sooner or later it will become a reality. 

"I believe that we can come to a consensus and an agreement if we just speak to one another," she added. 

The name Mount Evans remains until a decision is made. In the mean time, members from the Southern Cheyenne and Arapahoe tribes will be in town this Friday to honor the efforts to get Mount Blue Sky designated as the new name.




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