By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver
(Denver, Colo.) A Colorado group wants you to picture Mount Evans as Mount Blue Sky.
And to raise awareness for their cause, the Mestaa’ehehe Coalition is inviting everyone to submit pictures of Mount Evans, which they call Mount Blue Sky, from their unique vantage points.
“Mount Blue Sky is one of the most recognizable peaks in the Front Range and can be seen from miles away,” the Coalition wrote in an email to supporters. “The name of this mountain impacts many people beyond Clear Creek County and the Denver metro area, so we’re asking our amazing supporters to send us their different views of Mount Blue Sky.
The Coalition has been lobbying to change the name of Mount Evans to Mount Blue Sky due to John Evans’ involvement in the Sand Creek massacre of indigenous peoples. The Clear Creek County Commission had a public hearing on the name change. Supporters of the change as well as descendants of John Evans spoke.
In March, the board voted to change the name. It now must be considered by a state agency. Ultimately, it will be up to Gov. Polis and a federal board whether the name gets changed.
One Hundred Views of Mount Blue Sky
The Coalition has dubbed its picture drive “One Hundred Views of Mount Blue Sky” and its goal is to build momentum for the name change.
“We all see the mountain differently — from different angles and perspectives,” the Coalition email continues. “Send us a sunrise vista or the view from the top after a long hike or drive. Your photo could be from the city, prairie, or with a goat in the frame. You can even send us a drawing illustrating the importance of renaming Mount Evans as Mount Blue Sky.”
The Coalition will share the photos and drawings on its social media channels. To participate, send your photos to MestaaeheheCoalition@gmail.com. Include your Instagram and Facebook handles with your submission as well as the photo’s location. People without social media accounts still can send in their photos.
Coalition members have been traveling around the state lobbing for the name change. They visited the Honor the Elder Powwow in Brighton, Latino Conservation Week kick-off event in Montbello and the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival at Sloan’s Lake.
Several hoops remain for name change
In an email to supporters, the Coalition said many people think the name change already has occurred. “Unfortunately, we are not there yet,” the Coalition explains. “The proposal still needs to go through the Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board's three-meeting process, Gov. Polis, and a federal board on geographic names vote. We are hoping the CGNAB will add Mount Evans to their agenda soon.”
The Wilderness Society has created an online petition for people wanting to express support for the name change to state officials.
“The events of the past cannot be undone, but we can honor the countless Cheyenne and Arapaho people whose families were impacted by Evans’ actions,” the petition reads. Mount Blue Sky is a fitting name to honor both tribes: the Cheyenne celebrate an annual renewal of life ceremony called Blue Sky, and the Arapaho are known as the Blue Sky People.”