Sand Creek Massacre: 150th Anniversary Events Begin Tomorrow at National Historic Site

Joe Big Medicine and other tribal descendents on the steps of the State Capitol in 2013.
Joe Big Medicine and other tribal descendents on the steps of the State Capitol in 2013.

On Wednesday, December 3, after five days and 170 miles, the fifteenth annual Sand Creek Massacre Healing Run will end with a ceremony on the steps of the State Capitol, where descendants of Arapaho and Cheyenne tribe members killed at Sand Creek will join with more tribal representatives, historians, politicians and other supporters in commemorating the 150th anniversary of that dark chapter in Colorado history. See also: Photos of the 2013 Sand Creek Massacre Healing Run

On November 29, 1864 Colonel John Chivington led a troop of 675 volunteers and regular Army officers in a dawn raid on a camp of Cheyenne and Arapahoe along Sand Creek in southeast Colorado territory -- who'd camped there because officers at nearby Fort Lyons said they would be safe there. Instead, upwards of 150 Cheyenne and Arapahoe -- most of them women, children and elderly men -- were killed, and after looting and mutilating the bodies, the troops traveled to Denver, showing off their trophies.

At dawn tomorrow, descendents of the survivors will gather on Monument Hill at the Sand Creek Massacre Historic Site for a private ceremony remembering the massacre. Here's the schedule for the rest of the day from the National Parks Service:

9 a.m.-noon: U.S. Postal Service representative will be available to cancel letters with the 150th Year Remembrance of the Sand Creek Massacre postal cancellation stamp.

10- 10:30 a.m.: "The Sand Creek Massacre." Join a park ranger in the picnic area for this insightful discussion on the surprise attack on the Cheyenne and Arapaho village, which occurred 150 years ago.

Noon-12:30 p.m.: "And Still He Stayed." Join a park ranger in the picnic area for this interesting talk on Cheyenne Peace Chief Black Kettle. Who was he? Why is he remembered today?

1 p.m.: Monument Hill reopens to the public. Visitors are welcome to explore the park on their own or join speakers in the picnic area for a brief discussion on the importance of the day and background for establishing the park.

The public is invited to the town of Eads to attend the following programs:

3 and 5 p.m.: Join park staff at the Crow Luther Cultural Events Center in Eads for a preview of two new film documentaries on the Sand Creek Massacre. Films will be shown to the public free of charge.

The fifteenth annual Healing Run will begin at 7 a.m. Sunday, November 30, at the Sand Creek Massacre Historic Site.

But you don't need to travel to Eads to mark this anniversary. Keep reading for more Sand Creek Massacre activities this weekend.  

From The Sand Creek Massacre and the Civil War.
From The Sand Creek Massacre and the Civil War.

Upcoming Events

History Colorado will have a screening of The Sand Creek Massacre and the Civil War, a National Park Service documentary produced by Denver-based Post Modern Company, at 2 pm. November 29, in the History Colorado Center Auditorium; the screening will be followed by a Q&A with executive producer David Emrich. Find more information here.

Chief Niwot: Legend & Legacy, the award-winning exhibit that made its debut at the Boulder History Museum two years ago, is back to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre, with new content. The show will be up through December 31 at 1206 Euclid Avenue in Boulder; for hours and admission fees, call 303-449-3464.

Descendants of Sand Creek, an exhibit of works by Cheyenne and Arapaho artists Brent Learned, George Levi, Nathan Hart, BJ Stepp and Merlin Little Thunder at the Native American Trading Company, 213 West 13th Avenue, runs now through December 24. Find more information at 303-534-0771 or nativeamericantradingco.com.

For a complete list of related activities, go to sandcreekmassacre150.com.

Send tips to patricia.calhoun@westword.com.


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