Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Sand Creek Massacre: Join the crew filming Soul of Silas this weekend

While History Colorado and tribal representatives consult on Collision, an exhibit dedicated to the Sand Creek Massacre, and the political and cultural issues that continue to reverberate, other groups are gearing up to mark next year's 150th anniversary of this sad chapter in Colorado history. Local filmmaker Aaron Sears, for example, is making Soul of Silas, a movie that focuses on Captain Silas Soule, who was murdered after he testified before the federal commission investigating the facts behind the incident, which the government determined was indeed a massacre.

Sears grew up in Denver, but didn't know anything about Sand Creek until he was doing research on a haunted house a decade ago. "How did we not know about this?" he asks today. On November 29, 1864, 700 troops led by Colonel John Chivington, a Methodist minister, rode into a peaceful camp of Arapaho and Cheyenne on Sand Creek and killed over 150 people, most of them elderly men, women or children. "And not just killed women and children, but they then butchered them to pieces," Sears says. "It was a no-holds-barred massacre."

And so he's making a movie "to bring awareness to what's going on." Soule, who refused to take part in the massacre, helped fuel early awareness; his letter describing the massacre was lost for more than a century, and re-appeared just when Congress was considering establishing the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site just over a decade ago.

Want to be a part of this new memorial? The Soul of Silas crew is looking for extras for filming this weekend. Here's the ad:

We Need Native Americans. All are welcome Amateurs and Professionals

Native adults needed The filming will take place over a 2 Day period June 22nd & 23rd. Most Actors on set will be required to be in blood and makeup for most of the day. Running and falling Dieing will be required by most. We need Men and Women.

Native Children; June 23rd only.... We are looking for younger looking Native American children age 10 and up Younger if they can take role semi serious . The children Actors must be accompanied by a legal guardian. costume and gore makeup for at least 4 hours.

June,22nd and 23rd filming at American Safari Ranch 1484 County Road 7 Fairplay, CO 80440

More from the Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "A century and a half later, the wounds of Sand Creek are still fresh."

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun