Representatives from American Indian Tribal Nations collaborated with the City of Boulder to rename Settler's Park to The Peoples' Crossing in 2021.

Project Overview

In June 2021, the City of Boulder renamed Settler’s Park in west Boulder to The Peoples’ Crossing – a name developed by Representatives from federally recognized American Indian Tribal Nations.

The city thanks the Human Relations Commission and community members who developed the city's Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution PDF, which led to the process that renamed Settler's Park. We also extend our deep appreciation to Tribal Nation Representatives for their guidance in helping us to rename the area formerly known was Settler’s Park.

"The Peoples' Crossing" name represents three significant themes Tribal Representatives discussed during consultations with the city in April 2021:

  • It honors the area as a crossroads for Indigenous Peoples who have traversed and lived in the mountains and plains of the Boulder area since time immemorial.
  • “The People” or “Our People” are English translations for how many American Indian Tribal Nations refer to themselves in their native languages.
  • Usage of the term “The People” is meant to be inclusive of all people who have traveled through and have lived in the Boulder area.

"The Peoples' Crossing" area is located below the iconic Red Rocks formation in west Boulder. American-Eruopean histories of the city suggest the area is where Hinono’ei neecee ("Arapaho Chief") Nowoo3 (“Niwot," "Lefthand") and other Hinono’eino’ (“Arapaho”) Peoples told gold seekers who had camped in the area in October 1858 that they could not remain on Indigenous land as defined by the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie.



The Peoples' Crossing: Honoring Relationships with Tribal Nations

The City of Boulder will host a collaborative city-Tribal Nation event – “The Peoples' Crossing: Honoring Relationships with Tribal Nations" – on Friday, March 14, to welcome Tribal Nations who have traversed, lived in and stewarded lands in the Boulder Valley since time immemorial to share their perspectives, histories, cultures and traditions with the Boulder community. Register for this public program and learn how it has become an important symbol for the city in its ongoing work to help fulfill the Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution in collaboration with Tribal Nations.

We appreciate Tribal Representatives guidance in developing this program intended to sustain and honor city-Tribal Nation relationships and help build broader community connections to foster respectful and meaningful engagement with Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities. The name for this program honors The Peoples Crossing – a west Boulder area that Tribal Representatives named in 2021 and honors Boulder as a crossroads for Indigenous Peoples since time immemorial. The area has become an important symbol for the city in its ongoing, collaborative work with Tribal Nations.

Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution

Tribal Representatives’ recommendation to rename “Settler’s Park" helps the city fulfill its Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution PDF. In 2016, the Human Relations Commission and community members drafted the Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution (Resolution No. 1190 PDF), which was presented at the Aug. 2, 2016, Boulder City Council meeting and adopted by the City of Boulder. It declared the second Monday of October of each year to be Indigenous Peoples Day.

The resolution specifically directed the city to receive input from American Indian Tribes that share agreements with the city for a name that “commemorates the Indigenous presence on the parkland known as Settler’s Park.” It also requires the city to conduct ongoing work to “correct omissions of the Native American presence in public places, resources and cultural programming.”

New Education and Interpretation Materials

As you walk through The Peoples’ Crossing area, you may notice that the City of Boulder has removed interpretative signs in this area.

Tribal Representatives and city staff removed those signs in March 2023 as part of ongoing efforts with American Indian Tribal Nations to review and update education and interpretative signage on city-managed open space lands. City staff also intend to remove the Settler’s Park inscription that remains on a tunnel underpass in the area and replace it with The Peoples’ Crossing name.

We are grateful for the opportunity to listen and learn from American Indian Tribal Nations, and we look forward to sharing new interpretative materials developed in partnership with Tribal Representatives in the coming years.

As the city continues to learn more, we encourage community members to reflect on perspectives in our shared histories and to think about the Indigenous perspectives that have not been included.

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Tribal Representatives and their children helped remove

Tribal Representatives and Comanche and Lakota children remove signs at The Peoples' Crossing during a March 2023 consultation. In February 2023, city staff received guidance from Tribal Representatives to remove those signs and replace them with new Indigenous interpretation and education as part of ongoing work to include Indigenous perspectives into our shared histories.

Renaming Process

Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution adoption by City Council

In 2016, the Human Relations Commission and community members drafted the Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution (Resolution No. 1190 PDF), which was presented at the Aug. 2, 2016, Boulder City Council meeting and adopted by the City of Boulder. It declared the second Monday of October of each year to be Indigenous Peoples Day. The resolution states:

  • “That City Council directs its City Manager to work with City departments, Native Americans and historians to correct omissions of the Native American presence in public places, resources and cultural programming.
  • “That as a first step, in recognition of a Memorandum of Understanding that the city entered into with Indigenous tribes concerning open space lands, the city requests input from representatives of those tribes and other interested parties regarding a name that commemorates the Indigenous presence on the park land known as ‘Settler’s Park;’ and second, the city manager considers any application submitted to rename the park land based on the input of the Indigenous tribes and interested parties.
  • "The City of Boulder will work together in partnership with Native Americans to encourage all educational institutions in the city to implement accurate curricula relevant to the traditions, history and current issues of Indigenous People inclusive of and as part of our shared history."

Community Naming Suggestions

City staff documented name suggestions for the “Settler’s Park” area provided by community members following the adoption of the city’s Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution in 2016. Staff planned to present suggestions to Tribal Representatives to fulfill direction in the city’s Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution.

March 2019 City-Tribal Consultation

During the formal consultation, city staff provided information about the city’s Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution and its direction to receive input from Tribal Nations for a name that commemorates the Indigenous presence in the “Settler’s Park” area.” Tribal Representatives from more than a dozen Tribal Nations also visited “Settler’s Park” with city staff and elected and community leaders. Following the field trip to “Settler’s Park,” city staff presented suggestions documented by city staff to Tribal Representatives.

For several hours, Tribal Representatives discussed community name suggestions and their own ideas – with one idea generating broad support among Tribal Representatives. The consultation ended with the City of Boulder and Tribal Representatives determining that a joint city-tribal working group – established to also update existing city tribal agreements – would also make a recommendation for commemoration and recognition of Indigenous Peoples and federally recognized American Indian Tribes in the Settler’s Park area.

2019 City-Tribal Working Group

Following the March 2019 consultation, city staff convened a city-Tribal working group, which met several times to discuss updates to agreements the city shares with 13 Tribal Nations. During those conversations, Tribal Representatives agreed to recommend further consideration of the “Settler’s Park” name suggestion that had received support at the 2019 March consultation.

2021 February Update Meeting

While the City of Boulder and Tribal Representatives agreed to meet in March 2020 to continue conversations from the 2019 consultation, the city postponed the in-person meeting because of COVID-19 public health concerns. On Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, the city held an informal conference call with Tribal Representatives to hear their preference for formal government-to-government consultations with the City of Boulder. City staff and Tribal Nations agreed to conduct an online consultation in early April 2021 to discuss:

  • A final renaming recommendation for Settler’s Park
  • Updates to city-Tribal Nation agreements
  • A city-wide land acknowledgment.

April 2021 City-Tribal Consultation

The beginning of the consultation began with a conversation to finalize a new name for “Settler’s Park.” During those conversations, a Tribal Representative and elder, who previously consulted with the City of Boulder in the 1990s and early 2000s, provided insights that led to collaborative discussions among Tribal Representatives and, ultimately, the name “The Peoples’ Crossing.”

City staff appreciated the opportunity to learn from and listen to Tribal Representatives about what the significance of the name “The Peoples’ Crossing” means to them. This new name represents several important themes discussed during two city-Tribal Nation consultations:

  • Boulder and the “Settler’s Park” area have been a crossroads for Indigenous Peoples who have traversed and lived in the mountains and plains of the Boulder area since time immemorial.
  • “The People” or “Our People” are English translations for how many American Indian Tribal Nations refer to themselves in their native languages.
  • Usage of the term “The People” is meant to be inclusive of all people who have traveled through and have lived in the Boulder area.

Because of the name’s special meaning to Tribal Representatives and the strong consensus it received among consultation participants, the city decided to use “The Peoples’ Crossing” for its application to rename “Settler’s Park.” The city is currently working on inviting Tribal Representatives – as agreed to at the 2021 consultation – to participate in a working group to help develop permanent education and interpretation materials for the area.

June 3, 2021, City Council Meeting

City staff presented an application PDF to rename "Settler's Park" to "The People's Crossing" to the Boulder City Council. Council members approved the renaming of the area by not asking for a public hearing regarding the city renaming application.