Tava Quad: Honoring the Indigenous Peoples of This Land

By GABY JADOTTE

The quad surrounded by Cascade Avenue, Armstrong Hall, Tutt Library, South Hall, and Shove Chapel, is a place where Colorado College students enjoy hammocking, slacklining, and laying in the sun when the weather is nice. The majority of students on campus informally refer to this quad as “Armstrong.” However, the quad will now be known as Tava Quad after CC’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved the renaming of it during their February meeting, thanks to advocacy by Indigenous groups on campus. 

Photo by Daniel Sarché

Tava, meaning “Sun Mountain,” is the name that the Tabegauche Band of the Ute People use for the mountain commonly called Pikes Peak. The word Tava is used frequently around Colorado Springs as the reference word for Pikes Peak. The quad offers some of the best unblocked views of Pikes Peak, a major reason why Indigenous groups on campus pushed for the renaming of that area specifically. According to Felix Sanchez ’93, the college is invested in continuously naming spaces on campus that reflect the school’s history and values, and naming a space on campus in honor of the Indigenous Peoples that previously inhabited the land is a step in that direction.

The process to rename the quad began in the fall of 2017, when a group of Indigenous faculty and staff met to discuss reclaiming a space on campus that honored the history of Indigenous Peoples and CC. They then reached out to NASU, CC’s Native American Student Union, for help with the proposal and to gain support within the student body. Within a year, a formal proposal to reclaim and rename a space on campus was submitted to President Jill Tiefenthaler and other campus leaders, which was then presented to the Board of Trustees during their November meeting. The Board approved both the initial and final proposals presented by the Indigenous groups on campus. 

In addition to formally renaming the quad, physical changes to the space are also being discussed. These proposed changes include adding a major sign that introduces the quad and defines the word Tava to the campus community and visitors. Other proposed changes would be to add small signs with Ute words for certain objects along the perimeter, a garden filled with sacred plants for Native students, and circular walkways within the quad to reflect the initial proposal’s attempt to find a circular space on campus to rename.  

The renaming of Tava Quad will be officially introduced to the CC community during the 2019 CC Commencement Ceremony, while a blessing and renaming ceremony will take place during Homecoming in the fall. Indigenous representatives from the college are in contact with the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Tribes to provide the blessing or participate in the renaming ceremony. The college hopes that many Native-identifying alumni are able to attend the blessing and renaming ceremony.

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