A Northwestern University task force is calling for wiping the name of school founder John Evans from its alumni center.

It’s part of a proposed response by the school to research indicating that, as governor of the Colorado territory in 1864, Evans failed to intervene to prevent a massacre of Indians on the Sand Creek reservation and failed to express regret after the massacre occurred.

The Native American Outreach and Inclusion Task Force also calls for the school to consider establishing an Indigenous Research Center, hiring Native American scholars to staff it and creating a certificate or minor in Indigenous studies.

And it recommends naming a professorship after Carlos Montezuma, the Native American physician and author who graduated from Northwestern’s Medical College in 1889, holding an annual conference on ethics and research in his name and commissioning a portrait of Montezuma to be hung in a prominent location on campus.

In addition to taking the Evans name off the alumni center, the panel recommends removing it from named professorships at the school and from a room at the Norris University Center.

The task force also recommends a variety of outreach efforts to Native American groups and that the school encourage the enrollment of more Native American students at Northwestern.

The task force report has been sent to NU President Morton Schapiro and Provost Daniel Linzer for review.

Related document

Report of the Native American Outreach and Inclusion Task Force

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Indian task force shaming Evanston

    John Evans was the founder of Northwestern and the namesake of Evanston!!! Our city and everyone who has ever attended the good university over the last 125 years owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Evans, who founded the Republican party and was a personal friend of Abe Lincoln. The Republican party was formed in part to abolish slavery.

    Instead, a group of almost two dozen liberal "intellectuals" want to wipe the founder's name from the university's alumni center more than a century later because Evans allegedly failed to intervene to prevent a massacre of Indians on the Sand Creek reservation in another state or express regret after the massacre occurred.

    What this Native American Outreach and Inclusion Task Force likely ignored were all the white women and children killed by the Dog Soldiers that Gov. Evans was after. After the Sand Creek massacre Indians ramped up their indiscriminate killings of whites across the Plains that produced the Fetterman massacre and laid waste to countless white victims and property.

    Rather than praise those that contributed greatly to America, university intellectuals condemn America and its past while ignoring its great accomplishments. This panel wants to rewrite history and make America out to be the bad guy. Indians were massacring white women and children in numerous raids and something had to be done.

    1. As is usual at NU—
      Some students and the committee [and I suspect non-NU residents will jump on the band wagon] have taken a serious issue—and broader issue of Indian tribes/lands, and made it and Evanston a joke to the broader world. I’ll be interested to see what they want the city’s name changed to, maybe “the name that is not to be spoken.”
      Most residents have come to realize NU students will jump on a cause and take the wrong steps. Administration will go along to not sound PC insensitive, and create new departments, majors, hire staff for just that purpose, pushing student costs up instead of taking reasonable step. The administration thinks by giving in the university will become more famous and attract more—I suspect the opposite will happen.

      1. Kindly note

        Kindly note, Guest, that the task force did not in any way address the name of the City of Evanston. Nor did the story suggest that it had.

        It only spoke to the use of the name of John Evans on university facilities.

        — Bill

        1. A little to much


          I think you might have taken the bait. I believe GUEST meant that after a successful attack on NU, the next step would be an attempt to embarrass Evanston into changing its name to Native, IL. Seeing our current city government, I can see the majority of the city council, with a cheerleader mayor voting for the new city name.

          Can you see the changes that would result:

          • Evanston Township High School would become Native High School. (actually this is an opportunity to eliminate the word township.)
          • EvanstonNow would change to NativeNow or if you prefer NativeNowandThen.
          • Evanstion Subaru in Skokie would become Native Subaru in Skokie.
          • ETC….

          But I wouldn't worry about this. Northwestern will not cave to these social terrorists and save Evanston from embarrassment. After all, John Evans' lack of doing or saying anything is not a wrong.

          Close call but we are safe.

          1. Restore Evanston’s Original Name!
            Evanston could always go back to Ridgeville, which is a wonderful name that evokes the ancient ridge that is such a defining element of our town’s topography! Or some might argue that the town originated in Major Mulford’s Oakton estate, or at least the ragtag tavern/stagecoach stop that existed upon it. Anyone would be proud to live in a town named either Oakton or Ridgeville, and both of these names were perfectly good before a bunch of racist interlopers showed up and took over! Let’s go for it! Nothing ever happens unless something happens!

      2. Truth in advertising

        If this ever so important topic would require a name change, I suggest the 51st Ward.  Any other suggestions (like Taxtown, Free Patio City, Plastic Bag Junction, Bicycle Village)? 

        1. Name change for Evanston

          This whole 'name change' issue is fake.  Nobody has suggested changing the name of Evanston – or the numerous other American cities named after mass murderers or slaveowners ( Jefferson, Jackson, Washington, etc.)   It is just a question of should Northwestern honor John Evans by naming the Alumni Center after him.

          By the way, how long has this Alumni Center been around, and named after John Evans?   Is this a 'historic' Alumni Center, like all of the other allegedly 'historic' buildings in Evanston?

          Why are people afraid to hear the truth about John Evans and Chuckie Dawes and all of the other people in Evanston's past?

          If we do change the name of Evanston, of course the new name should be Nimbyville, or NIMBY's Corners, or Nimbopolis.


    2. Exceptional in its brutality

      The Sand Creek Massacre carried out by John Evans' friend Colonel John Chivington was exceptional in its brutality. It was part of a long list of atrocities carried out by European wealth seekers and later settlers against the original inhabitants or "owners" (if that's the way you think). Sand Creek was a sleeping village of old men, women and children. Chief Black Kettle wanted peace and flew both a white flag and an American flag over his tipi yet Chivingtons men attacked. This was a dark day in our history; a precursor to My Lai.

      John Evans was governor of the Territory of Colorado at the time of the massacre where it took place. President Andrew Jackson asked Evans to step down because of his attempts to cover up the massacre.

      Regarding Dog Soldiers where were Indians supposed to go? Vanish into thin air? Lay down and die? Isn't a white flag enough?

      As a longtime Evanston resident am I ashamed of John Evans? Only in that he was part and parcel of a systemic genocide of entire cultures and peoples on a continent.

      The original report from the committee was balanced, These proposals are a step forward. And no, Evanston does not need to change its name.

      A trip to our wonderful library and its history section is in order.


  2. Anyone who disbelieves that

    Anyone who disbelieves that life imitates art needs to find this episode of the Simpsons and watch it immediately:

    "Lisa writes an essay on town founder Jebediah Springfield. While doing research, she finds a confession revealing that Springfield was a murderous pirate named Hans Sprungfeld who never cared about the people of Springfield. Lisa and Homer decide to get the message out, but instead anger the town council."

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