Move to rename mountain named after white man who committed no crime


Downtown Denver skyline with Mt Evans in the background

Downtown Denver skyline with Mt Evans in the background

by Ex-Leftist


We’ve had a fad off and on for several years involving ripping down or renaming anything named after a white person that may be controversial. Of course, ultimately being named after a white person at all is controversial to these people. Perpetrators of supposed crimes, even if they didn’t lift a weapon, as it is said, shouldn’t be honored by having places named after them.

At least selectively so.

As part of this fad, in Colorado a rather confused, historically ignorant elementary school teacher Kate Tynan-Ridgeway wants to rename Mt Evans – a mountain famous for its prominent place in the Rocky Mountain backdrop behind Denver’s skyline – because the mountain was named after John Evans, former Colorado governor as well as a founder of both the University of Denver and Northwestern University, and a man who made controversial comments about defending Colorado Territory from hostile Indian bands during the Civil War when numbers of soldiers in Colorado were short due to the Civil War which somehow implicates him in the eyes of critics in the Sand Creek Massacre in which Colonel John Chivington (yes, Colorado has a town named after him, too) led a group of Colorado Calvary to supposedly massacre mostly women and children somewhere in the number from approximately 50 to 500, depending on the source.

Both Evans Avenue in Denver and the town of Evans don his name.

Ms Tynan-Ridgeway (whose appearance fits the prototype of the feminist pink-hatter) wants to rename Mt Evans “Mt Cheyenne-Arapaho” in supposed honor of two local Indian tribes as the Cheyenne were the ones to suffer at Sand Creek and the Arapaho are a historically local tribe. For one, Cheyenne and Arapaho are European names given those groups, so at best we’d have another case of Eurocentric colonial place-naming on our hands which would by no means end the controversy. The Cheyenne call themselves “Dzǐ’tsǐǐstäs” and the southern Arapahoe “Noowunenno.” This, of course, falsely assumes that the tribes have no atrocities in their histories since supposedly we’re removing place names from historical figures with controversial pasts which would be a completely bogus statement. It’s also false to claim any peak in the Rocky Mountains as their territory since Mt Evans is located in historically Ute territory. Utes are historical enemies of Cheyenne and Arapaho and have plenty of ugly events in their own history such as attacks on women and children in raids on Spanish settlements.

In that, is the message here that naming things after people who are even peripherally involved in an atrocity is wrong if they’re of specifically Anglo-Saxon heritage but not otherwise? Is this, then, in light of this clear lack of a consistent moral standard really about renaming things associated with villainy or simply a way of attacking one race’s place names and tearing them down?

Colorado, like the rest of the southwestern United States, indeed has a history of place names bubbling over from brutal colonial exploits. The southern part of the state is full of old Spanish place names coined by brutal Spanish conquerors and settlers who were known to massacre and burn entire villages of people, any single one of which such as the 1599 Spanish retaliation for a the killing of some early colonialists led by Juan de Onate – founder of the colony of New Mexico – against the Acoma Pueblo people which involved butchering 800 and torturing and enslaving others and burning their pueblo down. Surviving pueblos were renamed after Catholic saints, had churches built in them and people who practiced traditional faiths were known to suffer torture, were routinely enslaved, generally subjugated to Spanish whims, given Spanish Christian names, dropped dead in droves from smallpox and had their land stripped by grazing Spanish cattle.

Yet, there are no movements to rename the many, many Spanish place names across the southwestern United States in spite of this history or to attack Hispano historical memory and identity.