On September 15, the U.S. Department of the Interior released a press release wherein it stated that the Department of the Interior has declared that the Board on Geographic Names (BGN) has voted on changing the name of Mt. Evans. The Domestic Names Committee (DNC) comprised of 25-member assented to changing the name to Mount Blue Sky for the purpose of federal use. This move comes after two country-to-country consultations along with years of consideration by local governments, Tribe governments, the country, and the state.
The renaming of the Mount has not been a quick process. Rather from the year 2019 to 2022, the Board on Geographic Names (BGN) has got six formal proposals to change the name of Mount Evans.
The mountain was named after the Territorial Governor of Colorado, John Evans. However, Evans was associated closely with the Sand Creek Massacre.
The U.S. soldiers attacked an encampment consisting of around 750 Native people. Many of these were wounded, and many others lost their lives. Approximately half of the people who lost their lives were either children or women. The incident took place on 29th November 1864.
Michael Brain, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, expressed in a statement that “The process undertaken by the Board on Geographic Names is an important part of the federal government’s commitments to Tribes and ensuring that all voices are heard. Each proposal is thoroughly reviewed and researched while gathering input from a variety of groups and individuals.”
“Names matter. How we identify our public lands is an important opportunity to be inclusive and welcoming, and to make a lasting impact for future generations,” Brain further added.
At the time of considering the proposals, the Board on Geographic Names (BGN) gained input from organizations that were interested in the venture. Over hundreds of individuals and 75 organizations were in strong support of naming the Mount "Mount Blue Sky". The BGN also took into consideration two Tribal consultations in the month of June upon Tribal request.
At the time of the voting day, the DNC also assented to alter the name of Jeff Davis Creek to Doyavinai Baa O'ogwaide. Two formal requests were received by the BGN to alter the name due to its link with the President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis, from the year 1861 to 1865. Additionally, the name of Jeff Davis Peak was changed to Three Eagles Peak.
The DNC is authorized for the standardization process of the names of the geographic features situated in the U.S., along with its dependent regions. The DNC incorporates deputies and members belonging to the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Homeland Security, Commerce, and Interior. Members of the United States Postal Service and the Library of Congress are also there in the DNC.
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