07/25/2013 03:50 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

CU-Boulder Proposes Naming Two Dorms After Native American Chiefs

University of Colorado leaders are proposing that two dorms in the Kittredge Complex be named after highly respected Arapaho Indian chiefs.

Officials from the Boulder campus are planning to name the remodeled Kittredge West dorm to honor Chief Niwot, a Southern Arapaho leader who was dedicated to nonviolence, university leaders say. Chief Niwot and his people lived along the Front Range, and historians say they spent many winters in the Boulder Valley.

CU leaders also want to name a new dorm opening this fall in the Kittredge Complex after Chief Little Raven, also a highly respected leader of the Southern Arapaho. Little Raven was respected for his mindful negotiations between tribes and settlers and was offered a peace medal by President Ulysses S. Grant.

"We suggested Chief Niwot and Chief Little Raven because they were locals living in this area, and they were known for being peacemakers and supporting the beauty of the valley," said Kambiz Khalili, executive director of Housing and Dining Services at CU.

Simply having directional names on buildings, like "Kittredge West," Khalili said, doesn't leave students "with a sense of belonging or interest in the buildings." Eventually, the Williams Village North dorm could get a new name as well, he said.

The Boulder Campus Planning Commission has approved the naming of the dorms. Before it's final, though, the names will need to be approved by the Board of Regents. The proposal is set to go before the board at its meeting in September, and the university is planning a building dedication later in the fall.

"Dedicating a Kittredge area residence hall to the highly esteemed, yet humble Chief Little Raven will not only honor Little Raven, his family and tribe, but will also honor Boulder's history," says a document proposing the dedication. "The students who would live and learn within 'Little Raven Hall' would have a daily reminder of the diverse history of the Boulder community."

Throughout the building dedication process, university leaders have consulted with local Native Americans, including Ava Hamilton, a descendant of Chief Little Raven.

Hamilton, a Boulder filmmaker, is working on the building dedication and is inviting ancestors of the chiefs.

"I would like people to know that we don't just exist in the past," she said. "We are living people today."

She estimates there are 6,000 Arapahos today, with many living in Wyoming and Oklahoma.

"The naming of dorms may not seem like a huge thing," she said. "But, to me, it's recognition of our people in this area."

Construction crews last year demolished the Kittredge Commons and have built a new dorm on the site. The $37.25 million project, funded by auxiliary revenue generated by Housing and Dining Services, will house about 265 students and include classrooms.

The proposed Little Raven Hall will house some residential academic programs, which blend living and learning. They are the chancellor's leadership studies program, the ethnic living and learning community leadership studies program and the global engineering program.

Kittredge West will reopen this fall and be home to a new health professions residential academic program, suited for students studying in fields such as pharmacy, nursing, public health and integrative physiology.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or ___



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