Renaming Pikes Peak as Tava Mountain

This sign overlooking Pikes Peak was installed in downtown Woodland Park in the late 1990s as part of the American Discovery Trail Art Project. A local movement to rename Pikes Peak as Tavá Mountain is afoot.

Let’s change the name of Pikes Peak — easily the most famous mountain in the United States. Let’s make “woke” an even bigger joke.

Meanwhile, let’s rename other Colorado landmarks. Start with everything named “Palmer,” which honors the white general who founded Colorado Springs. Rename Palmer Ridge High School, Lewis-Palmer High School, Palmer High School, Palmer Lake, Palmer Park, Palmer Divide, etc., etc., and etc. After all, Gen. William Jackson Palmer founded Colorado Springs after white settlers disrupted the Ute Indians who considered the area home.

We should rename Denver. This city was home to Utes and other Native Americans displaced by white Settlers of the Kansas Territory.

“As Europeans settled in new territories, they displaced existing native tribes forcing them to move farther westward. These Natives then displaced existing native tribes,” explains a scholastic paper by the University of Colorado-Denver’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The name “Denver” honors the historically obscure former Kansas Territory Gov. James W. Denver. He assumed office the same day his constituents voted to open “Bleeding Kansas” to slavery.

A Gazette story Sunday explained a movement is “gaining momentum” to rename Pikes Peak “Tavá Mountain,” as Ute Indians called it.

“While ‘Pikes Peak’ in itself does not denote racism, the fact that Colorado Springs’ most recognized attraction was named after a white Army officer, Zebulon Montgomery Pike, who neither reached the top nor knew it would bear his name, is enough for supporters to call for change,” wrote Gazette Reporter Debbie Kelley, after talking with name-change advocates.

Sometimes society should consider new institutional names. Planned Parenthood rightly removed founder Margaret Sanger from abortion clinics bearing her name. Sanger was a blatant racist who founded Planned Parenthood as an offshoot of “The Negro Project,” which she established to reduce Black reproduction.

The Gazette’s editorial board complained about Princeton University naming its business school after racist segregationist and former Democratic President Woodrow Wilson. As activists attack statues of Abraham Lincoln, we should not honor the likes of Wilson. Gov. Jared Polis, a Princeton alumnus, texted us within moments of the school dropping Wilson’s name.

The Gazette has questioned why two federal courthouses, a federal prison, multiple public schools and highways, bridges and other public assets honor the contemporary Democratic Senate Majority Leader Robert K. Byrd. He founded a major chapter of the Ku Klux Klan and repeatedly used the N-word in the 21st century.

“Tavá” sounds beautiful, and nothing is wrong with honoring Natives who inhabited the region before European settlement. Institutions and towns use tribal names mostly to honor Native Americans. The concern about this proposed change is more pragmatic than ideological.

“Pikes Peak” is so beloved that scores of Colorado products and businesses use it as a brand. Pikes Peak is considered “America’s Mountain” because nearly every American and foreign visitor knows of it — by the name Pikes Peak.

At best, this is a solution seeking a problem. At worst, it illustrates a grab for power and attention by the helplessly woke. Local, state, and federal leaders must not capitulate to abandoning a name that has no nexus with racism or oppression. They should stand their ground and say “no” to rebranding one of the world’s most famous landmarks for no good reason.

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