Copyright Regents, CU

Arapaho: hinono'ei'

Arapaho meaning: Place of the Arapahos
A small town in Wyoming was named for the Arapaho Indians who inhabited the area, along with the Cheyenne. The origin of the word "Arapaho" is not known; the Arapaho know themselves as hinono'ei.
a word whose meaning is untranslatable.

Cache la Poudre River: ho'oowu' heetou'

Arapaho meaning: where a house is located
In the early 19th century, there was a single house along the river which is where the Arapaho name comes from. In contrast to today, Cache la Poudre is a popular white water rafting destination and many buildings line it's shores.

Denver(South Platte): niineniiniicie

Arapaho meaning: tallow creek
This name is remembered by contemporary Arapahos, who explain that the river was often full of tallow becaue the area was a favorite camp and butchering area. Tallow was used in the women's buffalo-lodge ceremony and was also symbolically important in the Sun Dance.

Dubois: niisonoh'oho'

Arapaho meaning: two boys
The name of this place is a play on words. The Arapaho name means "two boys", and the word Dubois sounds like "two boys" when spoken in English. The fist white family moved here in 1866.

Estes Park: heetko'einoo'

Arapaho meaning: where it is circular, The Circle
The open park here is one through which the buffalo used to range. This area was considered their personal hunting ground, but would go over the Continental Divide when they wanted better hunting or a battle with another tribe. Usually they fought with the Utes, the tribe that belonged to the western mountains of Colorado. The 1914 Arapahos seemed to be more familiar with the northern part of Estes Park than the southern part. The Arapaho had spent considerable amounts of time here prior to 1860, following game further into the mountains during the summer and down to the plains during the winter. After this, they left the region, going north to follow the buffalo that had been driven off by the white man. The Utes then moved into the area, and many settlers thought they had always been there.

Gianttrack Mountain: hinenitee tohnooxeiht

Arapaho meaning: where a person made tracks
There is a legend that on the mountain and on the ridge to the east, Indians once found huge human footprints. They did not take the trouble to find where these footprints led.

Grand Lake: beteenni'ec

Arapaho meaning: holy lake
As legend goes, there was a battle here between Cheyenne-Arapaho and Utes. To protect them from the enemy, the Utes put the women and children on rafts and floated them out to the middle of the lake. A sudden storm capsized the rafts, drowning all the women and children. Meanwhile, the Ute men were defeated on the shore. The Utes thereafter avoided this lake, calling it ?spirit lake.?

Green River: 3iikoniiniicie

Arapaho meaning: skull river
Named because skulls were found in the area. There was a large massacre of Chinese in the area in the late nineteenth century, but it is not known if this is the reason for the name. The railroad gave the area its first boom and in 1875.

Larimie: niithokooxeeetiini'

Arapaho meaning: where tepee poles are obtained
As the name suggests, this area was used by the Arapaho to collect lodge poll pines for tepees and later for lumber in the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad in the 1860s

Longs Peak: neniisotoyou'u

Arapaho meaning: there are two mountains
At 14,255', Longs is the highest peak in the park. Longs and Meeker form a striking double peak when viewed from the east. The Arapaho used this landmark as a navigation guide.

Lost Cabin: konouuwoo'oe'

Arapaho meaning:sweat brush
This is the site of the Bates Battle of 1874 between the Shoshones allied with troops from Camp Brown and the Northern Arapaho lead by Chief Black Coal.

Mills Lake, RMNP: teiitoonni'ec

Arapaho meaning: calm/still lake
This is an appropriate name for the lake, as there is almost no outlet and consequently, the water is very still. The present name for the lake, as long as Mills Glacier and Mills Moraine, commemorates Enos Mills. Mills came to Estes Park when he was 15, and tramped miles over the mountains, even during the winter. He bought and ran the famous Longs Peak Inn, and was a guide, lecturer and writer. A natural conservationists, he first had the idea of forming a national park here.

Never Summer Range: niiciibiicei'i

Arapaho meaning: never summertime
These mountains may have been named for the harsh winters here. Deep snowdrifts accumulate that melt only briefly during the summer. There is an Arapaho myth that may also explain the name. When they were in camp White-Owl and Thunder-Bird (the summer bird) challenged each other for an exhibition of their powers. So Thunder-Bird started up clouds, black as coal, making a tremendous noise and great wind. White-Owl (the winter bird) started its white looking clouds, which moved fast and thick, the clouds flying very low and blowing with a piercing wind. Now the black clouds and the white clouds met, but the white clouds of the white bird scattered snow, which drifted, so that there was a blizzard and nothing could be seen, and everything was frozen up. So the white bird gained the day and was considered the most powerful. This myth may explain the names of the Never Summer Range, White Owls (Mummy Range), and Thunder Pass (Lulu). Geographically Thunder Pass connects the Never Summers with the White Owls. The conflict may have taken place in the Never Summer mountains, which is why there is never summer there, since the winter bird prevailed and caused blizzards and snow to freeze the land. To this day summer comes late to these mountains and leaves early, and snow is here for most of the year.

Prospect Mountain: biixuut

Arapaho meaning: the shirt
Named for a time when a Pawnee with a very unusual shirt was killed here.

Rawlins: heso'oobooone'

Arapaho meaning: at the railroad
This was the closest railroad stop to the Wind River reservation for many years.

(a place within) Rocky Mountain National Park: ni'eci' tohboo3eti'

Arapaho meaning: the lake where we fought
A lake within Rocky Mountain National Park is named for a battle with the Ute Indians.

Sand Creek:noobeiniicie

Arapaho meaning: sand river
In 1864, the Arapaho and Cheyenne made peace with Governor John Edwards and set up camp along Sand Creek. On November 29, 700 US volunteer soldiers marched to Sand Creek and killed 150 women, children and elderly. The survivors retreated to the camp of the Cheyenne Dog Warriors who were opposed to the peace treaty from the start.

Saratoga: tecenoo

Arapaho meaning: the door
This the gateway into North Park Colorado, a major buffalo hunting area.

Shadow Mountain: beniixotoyoo'

Arapaho meaning: hairy mountain
The Arapaho called it Pine Ridge probably due to the dense stand of lodge pole pine covering it. These trees with their thin trunks and easily chopped off branches made good poles made good tepees.

South Fork: wox niicííhehe'

Arapaho meaning: bear creek
South Fork is a town near the junction of the Rio Grande River, and once serviced lumber and mining activities in the area. George Crofutt visited South Fork in 1885 and noted "game and trout are abundant in the mountains and streams, while cattle and sheep roam over the hills."

Steamboat: neniikote'eit neh'eiht

Arapaho meaning: where Bushy Head was killed
near the present day Steamboat Springs, there was a battle in which an Arapaho named Bushy Head was killed. Today this is a popular ski resort town producing olympic contenders and gold medal athletes.

Thatchtop Mountain: hii3einoon toh'ouuhut

Arapaho meaning: where a buffalo herd climbed up
The Arapaho word for Thatchtop Mountain recalls a time when a herd of buffalo was trapped in deep snow, chased up a mountain, and killed.


Arapaho meaning: place of the Utes
Ute Indians (who call themselves Nuciu, "The People") lived around this area. The name Utah was given to the state in 1896.

Weld County:

Before Colorado was a territory, this area was known as the Great American Desert. There is evidence of many nomadic tribes living here including the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Sioux and Ute. Named for Lucius Weld, the first territorial secretary.

Willow Creek: yonookoxuu'uuni'

Arapaho meaning: where there are willows
Many varieties of willow grow in this area; alpine willows, mountain willows, and whiplash willows are a few. The whiplash willows with their shining red stems are the kind that grow here. In addition to tipis, Arapahos used temporary willow shelters during the summer, especially when traveling or hunting in smaller groups away from the main group.