The City of Boulder appreciates the opportunity to engage and consult with Tribal Representatives from federally recognized American Indian Tribal Nations.

The City of Boulder acknowledges the city is on the ancestral homelands and unceded territory of Indigenous Peoples who have traversed, lived in and stewarded lands in the Boulder Valley since time immemorial. Those Indigenous Nations include the: Di De’I (Apache), Hinono’eiteen (Arapaho), Tsétsėhéstȧhese (Cheyenne), Nʉmʉnʉʉ (Comanche), Caiugu (Kiowa), Čariks i Čariks (Pawnee), Sosonih (Shoshone), Oc'eti S'akowin (Sioux) and Núuchiu (Ute).

The city recognizes that Indigenous knowledge, oral histories, and languages – handed down through generations over thousands of years – have shaped profound cultural and spiritual connections with Boulder-area lands and ecosystems and that those connections are sustained and celebrated to this day. City staff appreciate the opportunity to listen and learn from Tribal Representatives and look forward to ongoing consultations and engagement with Tribal Nations

Tribal Sovereignty and Consultation

Sovereignty for Native peoples has existed since time immemorial, pre-dating the U.S. Constitution. Federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Nations are sovereign governments, and their special relationship with the United States is recognized under the Constitution of the United States, treaties, statutes, Executive Orders and court decisions. The special legal status of Tribal Governments requires official relations with federal agencies to be conducted on a government-to-government basis.

City staff recognize the importance of respecting and honoring Tribal sovereignty and self-determination and conduct ongoing government-to-government consultations with Tribal Representatives appointed by federally recognized Tribal Nations that have consulted with the city since the late 1990s, share Memorandums of Understanding with the city and have historic and enduring connections to the Boulder Valley.

The city’s current consultation framework with Tribal Nations is based on:

  • Guidance and desires provided by designated Tribal Representatives from federally recognized Tribal Nations during past and ongoing consultations.
  • Existing Memorandums of Understandings with Tribal Nations, which were developed in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
  • Federal and State of Colorado consultation best practices and guidelines.

While the City of Boulder has a framework for consultation with federally recognized American Indian Tribal Nations, city staff also recognize the importance of collaborating with local Indigenous communities and organizations in the Boulder area. Current Tribal consultation does not preclude the city from conducting similar collaboration processes with local Indigenous communities and organizations, and staff recognizes the need to work with regional partners to establish broader, community-wide Indigenous collaboration practices.

Guiding Conversations, Resolutions, Policies and Plans

City consultation practices and collaborative work with American Indian Tribal Nations are also guided by:

  • Four Memorandums of Understanding with Tribal Nations. These agreements, which focus on city open space, were initially developed in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
  • Government-to-government consultations with Tribal Nations and information developed at the end of the consultations (2019, 2021, March 2022, September 2022, March 2023).
  • The city’s 2016 Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution. In 2016, the Human Relations Commission and community members developed the Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution (Resolution No. 1190), which was presented at the Aug. 2, 2016, City Council meeting and adopted by the Council. The resolution led to the recent renaming of Settler’s Park to The Peoples’ Crossing. It also directs the city to “correct omissions of the Native American presence in public places, resources and cultural programming.” In addition, the resolution directs city staff to implement “accurate curricula relevant to the traditions, history and current issues of Indigenous People inclusive of and as part of our shared history.”
  • A city staff land acknowledgment based on the city’s Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution and further developed with guidance and input from American Indian Tribal Nations and the Boulder community.
  • The city’s Racial Equity Plan. It seeks to normalize and operationalize the understanding of institutional and structural racism among people who work for or represent the city, including city staff, City Council, Boards and Commissions, and ongoing program volunteers.
  • The Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) Master Plan, which directs the department to “support citywide efforts to work in partnership with federally recognized American Indian Tribal Nations and other city departments through formal government-to-government Consultations to help support American Indian Tribes and Indigenous Peoples’ connections to their ancestral homelands.”
  • The Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan, which states that the city follows a government-to-government consultation process with Tribal Nations. The plan also recognizes that meaningful engagement with Tribal Nations needs to also happen at a regional level.

The Peoples’ Crossing: Honoring Relationships with Tribal Nations

Unfortunately, the City of Boulder canceled “The Peoples’ Crossing: Honoring Relationships with Tribal Nations” event at the University of Colorado on Thursday, March 14, 2024, because of snowy conditions. This was a difficult decision to make, and we are so grateful for Tribal Nations to support an event that we know would have been extraordinary.

While the snow canceled the event, Tribal Nation Representatives and singers and dancers who were in Boulder before the snow came still celebrated their traditions, cultures and histories with songs and dancing. Watch the video.

We extend our deep appreciation to Tribal Representatives for helping us plan "The Peoples' Crossing: Honoring Relationships with Tribal Nations" and plan to discuss the possibility of rescheduling the event with Tribal Representatives. We also want to thank singers and dancers from the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes for helping the city and Tribal Representatives honor and strengthen relationships with Tribal Nations despite the weather.

The Peoples’ Crossing: Honoring Relationships with Tribal Nations” event was intended to:

  • Welcome Tribal Representatives to share their perspectives with the Boulder community and honor their histories, traditions and cultures that have existed since time immemorial.
  • Build broader Boulder-area connections to help foster respectful and meaningful engagement with Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities.
  • Continue work to fulfill the city’s Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution, which helps guide our ongoing, collaborative work with Tribal Nations.
  • Thank Tribal Nations who helped the city rename Settler’s Park to The People’s Crossing – a name that honors Boulder as a crossroads for Indigenous Peoples since time immemorial. We also share our gratitude to Tribal Representatives who are helping us to include their histories and perspectives into our shared histories and are helping staff develop a collaborative stewardship plan for land that has a community connection to the Sand Creek Massacre.

Fort Chambers / Poor Farm Management Plan

The City of Boulder thanks Arapaho and Cheyenne Tribal Nations for working with the city to develop a concept stewardship plan for a unique city open space site with important historical, ecological and agricultural features and a direct connection to the Sand Creek Massacre. The draft concept plan provides recommendations for how the city – with continuing guidance from Tribal Representatives – will care for land where Fort Chambers likely stood, which was near Boulder Creek east of 63rd Street and south of Jay Road. Learn more about the concept plan and collaborative work with Arapaho and Cheyenne Tribal Nations through the project webpage.

From Aug. 28 to Sept. 16, 1864, more than 100 Boulder-area men of Company D of the Third Colorado Calvary Regiment trained at Fort Chambers. The men of Company D would later participate in the murder of 10 Cheyenne people on Oct. 9, 1864, and atrocities against peaceful Arapaho and Cheyenne Peoples promised military protection at the Sand Creek Massacre on Nov. 29, 1864. 

Learn more about this unique land through an ArcGIS storymap

Read more about how the city has been working to develop the concept plan in collaboration with representatives from the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, the Northern Arapaho Tribe and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.

Tribal Nation Ethnographic-Education Report

City of Boulder staff recognizes the interpretation and educational information describing its history is dominated by American-European perspectives and fails to adequately include Indigenous perspectives. This planned report will be informed by in-person interviews with Tribal Representative and is intended to:

  • Support Tribal Nations and help them communicate their enduring cultural, spiritual and historical connections to the Boulder Valley.
  • Develop education and interpretation materials that provide accurate, truthful Indigenous Peoples’ stories – both past and present.
  • Help city staff learn more about special areas or types of places of importance to Tribal Nations and help guide future conversations with Tribal Nations.
  • Help fulfill the Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution, which requires the city to correct omissions of the Native American presence in public places, resources and cultural programming.

City staff have received permission from Tribal Representatives to release a final report, after approval by Tribal Representatives, in early 2026.

City-Tribal Nation Memorandum of Understanding

The MOU seeks to consolidate past City-Tribal Nation Memorandums of Understanding developed in 1998, 2002 and 2004 that focus on city open space lands and incorporate additional provisions discussed in multiple government-to-government consultations since 2019. Broadly, the MOU seeks to:

  • Set a foundation for sustaining future collaboration, engagement, and consultation with Tribal Nations.
  • Support Tribal Nation input into Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) decision-making on topics important to Tribal Nations.
  • Continues work to provide accurate educational information about the history and culture of each respective Tribal Nation.
  • Develop a way to identify areas on open space of special concern to Tribal Nations to help guide future cultural resource consultations.
  • Outline a process for ceremonial access and explore a permanent ceremonial location.
  • Develop a process for limited harvesting of plants and other materials important to the tribes.
  • Continue ongoing cultural resource protection, consultations and notifications.

Read more about the city-Tribal Nation Memorandum of Understanding.

Recent Consultation Information

The City of Boulder requests the permission of Tribal Representatives to prepare and review a public statement that summarizes consultations conversations before it is released to the public.

City-Tribal Nation MOUs

The City of Boulder has four Memorandums of Understanding with federally recognized American Indian Tribal Nations, which were developed during previous consultations during the late 1990s and the early-to-mid 2000s.

  • 1999 Memorandum of Understanding-A. The City and American Indian Tribal Nations agreed to create a spiritual, moral and policy partnership to protect the land south of Boulder.

  • 1999 Memorandum of Understanding-B. The City and Tribal Nations agreed to obtain approval for a city-administered utility easement for an area in south Boulder and to provide for a tribal monitor during then-proposed, ground-disturbing work. The city also agreed to provide reasonable fire protection services for permitted tribal cultural use of a protected area during fire bans.

  • 2002 Memorandum of Understanding. The 2002 MOU provides the critical foundation for the proposed MOU, which has been discussed at city consultations in 2019, 2021 and 2022. The 2002 MOU outlined several city-Tribal Nation agreements regarding cultural resource consultations, Tribal Nation notification of funerary objects and human remains and ceremonial access requiring temporary structures and/or fire.

  • Amendment to 2002 MOU: The city and Tribal Nations agreed to update the procedures related to ceremonies involving fire and temporary structures – such as tipis and sweat lodges – on Valmont Butte east of Boulder.

Completed City-Tribal Nation Projects

The City of Boulder has completed two projects with the support and guidance of Tribal Representatives:

  • Renaming of Settlers’ Park to The Peoples’ Crossing. In 2021, Representatives from American Indian Tribal Nations collaborated with the city to develop the new name to help fulfill the Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution. The Peoples’ Crossing name 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” is how many American Indian Tribal Nations refer to themselves in their native languages. The usage of “Peoples” is also meant to be inclusive of all people who have lived in the Boulder area.

    Trailhead and trail signs in the area reflect The Peoples’ Crossing name. The name is reflected throughout city trail and trailhead webpages and appears on Google Maps, Apple Maps and other trail apps. City staff met with Tribal Representatives in early February regarding how to address the Settlers’ Park inscription and received guidance to remove the Settler’ Park inscription and replace it with The Peoples’ Crossing name.
  • Staff land acknowledgment. City staff sought the guidance of American Indian Tribal Nations and the Boulder community to develop a city staff land acknowledgment. The acknowledgment encourages the city and its staff to reckon honestly with the legacy of American-European colonization of Indigenous lands and a history of removal policies that violated human rights and broke government treaties. It also seeks to inspire community education and help initiate community-wide work to help support Indigenous Nations and Indigenous communities and organizations in the Boulder area. 

    Read the full land acknowledgment online. Staff recognize the acknowledgment may change over the years as city staff and the Boulder community continue to learn about and address the intergenerational trauma caused by the violent colonization of Indigenous lands.

Community Participation

As common with government-to-government consultations, City-Tribal consultations and meetings are typically closed sessions in order to facilitate conversations among city staff, Tribal Representatives and elected and appointed community leaders. Those conversations may include sensitive topics. The city recognizes the public interest in citywide consultations with American Indian Tribes, and staff seek permission from Tribal Representatives to release information following in-person meetings.