INTRODUCTION: The Gore Range was not named for Al Gore, but for a guy who infuriated the Indians, the U.S. Cavalry, and the U.S. government, simultaneously. Lord St. George Gore slaughtered and slaughtered game relentlessly for three years in the 1850s, at the finish burned his extravagant cavalcade in spite, and wound up with one of the most spectacular mountain ranges anywhere named after him, even though he never set foot here, the ancestral (ten thousand years) home of the Ute Indians.
Summit County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier hopes to restore a bit of integrity to the land, and to the Ute tribe, banished from their homeland in 1881, by renaming the range. One suggestion is "Shining Mountains." The Utes were known as "The People of the Shining Mountains."
Karn makes her pitch below, and in the official Summit County Resolution that follows her essay.
You can learn more details, and add your comments, at http://sgrhoa.net/?p=912.
Join Karn, her friends at FENW, and others at a gala kickoff of the campaign: Monday, October 9, 1-3PM at the Frisco Community & Senior Center (MAP).
Presentations, Music, History, Poetry
RENAME THE GORE RANGE
By Karn Stiegelmeier, Summit County Commissioner
Thank you to Friends of Eagles Nest Wilderness for the ongoing advocacy promoting appreciation of our natural assets and stewardship of our high mountain resources within the Wilderness and beyond.
Our legacy includes a long history of people living in the area and their stewardship, and lack of stewardship of these treasured resources. This legacy goes back long before FENW and long before the Wilderness Act, to the thousands of years of Ute and other Indian tribe habitation in the high mountains of Northwest Colorado.
The values of resource stewardship were intrinsic to the people who lived here for thousands of years before the European explorers first stepped into this region. The high mountains were seasonally inhabited by the native people, and lower elevations provided year round homes of the Ute people for about 10,000 years.
The Ute people were generally friendly and helpful to the early explorers, but after the Meeker massacre, the Ute people were marched out to the edges of and beyond the boundaries of Colorado, and were entirely banished from their ancestral home by 1881.
The Eagles Nest Wilderness, established in 1976, encompasses the higher elevations of the Gore Range. The Gore Range was named after a Scottish Lord, Sir George Gore, who in 1854 began a three-year hunting expedition, guided by Jim Bridger, other mountain men, Ute Indian guides and even the U.S. Calvary. Gore’s expedition included hauling 30 wagons and more than 50 servants on his three-year expedition of 6,000 miles. Gore shot many thousands of large game animals, and then left them to waste, during his guided tour of the mountains. Despite the namesake, Lord Gore never set foot in the core of the Gore Range. At the completion of his tour he was disdained by the mountain men, the native people and the U.S. Calvary due to his wanton wastefulness.
In hand-drawn maps, the Gore name was later attached to numerous geographic features. Gore Pass, Gore Creek, and Gore Range are just a few of the features that still carry his name today. Looking through historical material, it is difficult to determine when these names were established. The first known attribution to the Gore Range is from a documented conversation atop Long’s Peak when William Byers pointed to the Range and described to John Wesley Powell, ”that is Gore’s Range.”
The USGS naming criteria for geographic features were established long after these hand drawn maps were informally adopted as the standard.
In conjunction with Indigenous People’s Day, we have initiated an effort to change the name of the Gore Range to a name that fits the USGS criteria, and that honors the long time inhabitants and stewards of this mountain range. The name, Shining Mountains, is one that has been used generically for ranges in the Rocky Mountains. It is the name that was used in the Congressional Act to remove the Ute people from “the Shining Mountains,” the northwestern Colorado mountains.
The Ute People today are confined to reservations in Southern Colorado and Utah. They have tribal leadership in the form of councils and chairmanships, and cultural directors. The tribes are part of the Colorado Commission on Indian Affairs (CCIA) along with all Colorado State departments, including the Department of Natural Resources, Department of Public Health and Environment, and Department of Education. I attended the triannual CCIA meeting in Ignacio in mid-September, and presented the following DRAFT resolution supporting a change of the name of the Gore Range. The Commission was very supportive of the change, but the Tribes wanted to get consensus from constituents on Shining Mountains or other name replacements.
Because consensus on the replacement name remains outstanding, we have the following resolution, adopted by the Summit County Commissioners, in place today, and plan to present this resolution on October 9 at the Frisco Community and Senior Center as part of the celebration in Indigenous People’s Day.
We appreciate the support of the FENW Board, and members, and encourage your participation in the event in Frisco on Oct. 9, 1:00 - 3:00 PM.
ABOUT KARN STIEGELMEIER: Karn Stiegelmeier has served as Summit County Commissioner since 2009, representing District 3, the Northern district of Summit County, from I-70 north to Grand County. She was drawn into this role while serving as the Executive Director of the Friends of the Lower Blue River. Karn’s career includes working as a science teacher, K-12, Environmental Education leader, National Park Ranger and USFS Firefighter.
RESOLUTION NO. 2017- 63
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY OF SUMMIT
STATE OF COLORADO
RESOLUTION SUPPORTING GORE RANGE NAME CHANGE
WHEREAS, early names on hand drawn maps of geographic features in Colorado were
commonly early explorers names, and many of those names are still in place today, and
WHEREAS, the USGS was established in 1879, and naming criteria was established by
the USGS, Board of Geographic Names in 1890, and
WHEREAS, inappropriate names have been slowly changing over time, in order to
reflect our values in these carefully crafted criteria, and
WHEREAS, the names of geographic features in the United States are a valuable
reflection of the history of our country and its changing face, and
WHEREAS, the first documentation of the attribution of the name Gore for this beautiful
mountain range in Summit and Eagle Counties is noted in a conversation atop Long's Peak when
William Byers pointed to the Range and described to John Wesley Powell, that is Gore's Range,
WHEREAS, the native Ute people relied upon Rocky Mountain wildlife for their
sustenance, and Lord Gore's massacre of thousands of buffalo, elk, deer and bears and other
wildlife left to waste is the antithesis of our stewardship values, and
WHEREAS, the 1850's were a different time, but even then, the mountain men , native
Americans, and the US Calvary who helped guide him were finally disgusted by his killing spree
wastefulness, leaving all these animals to waste, while local indigenous people depended on
these animals for survival, and
WHEREAS, Lord Gore never stepped foot into the Gore Range, and the USGS criteria
for naming includes a requirement that naming a feature after a person requires that person has
resided in the community and has contributed significantly to the betterment of that community,
WHEREAS, the Ute people lived in this geographic area for approximately 10,000 years
before being removed from the "Shining Mountains" to reservations in Utah in 1880, following
the Meeker massacre, and the passing of the Ute Removal Act, denying the Ute the 12 million
acres of land that had formally been guaranteed to them in perpetuity.
WHEREAS, Shining Mountains Range is a native Ute name for the Rocky Mountains in
a generic sense, and
WHEREAS, Shining Mountains Range is not an official USGS name in use anywhere in
the Rocky Mountains today, and
WHEREAS, Shining Mountains Range is our best suggestion for replacement name so
far, but we are open to other suggestions from the Ute tribes leadership.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY
COMMISSIONERS OF THE COUNTY OF SUMMIT, STATE OF COLORADO, THAT
we urge the USGS to support the change of the name of the Gore Range to reflect the values of
environmental stewardship and the criteria of the USGS for naming, including having resided in
the area and having contributed significantly to the betterment of the communities.
APPROVED ON THIS 26™ DAY OF SEPTEMBER, 2017.
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