Legislation to establish a Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site began in 1998 with passage of Public Law 105-243, sponsored by Colorado Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell.
Photo: National Park Service
The 13th Annual Sand Creek Massacre Spiritual Healing Run begins on Thursday, Nov. 24, at the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site near Eads in southeastern Colorado, and ends on Saturday, Nov. 26 on the western facing steps of the State Capitol in Denver. The three-day run and all attendant ceremonies and events are free and open to the public.
This year’s event marks the 147th anniversary of the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre. On Nov. 29, 1864, Col. John M. Chivington, formerly the Presiding Elder of the Methodist Episcopal Church for the Rocky Mountain District and commander of the Colorado Military District, led 650 soldiers to a peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho village of approximately 600 men, women and children, who were camped along the banks of the Big Sandy—known to history as Sand Creek.
Tragically, over 200 persons—mostly women, children, and the elderly and at least 11 chiefs—were killed by the soldiers. The Sand Creek Massacre profoundly affected Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal leadership and traditional structure, and intercultural relations across the west.
Revered Cheyenne peace chief, White Antelope, was one of a number of leaders gathered around a lodge pole bearing the flag of the United States and a white flag of surrender flying beneath it. As the massacre began, Chief White Antelope sang “Only the Rocks are Forever,” as he walked unarmed toward the soldiers, pleading with them not to shoot. Shot down and killed, he was the first of the chiefs to fall.
Despite considerable risk to themselves, two veteran officers of the 1st Colorado Cavalry, Capt. Silas S. Soule of Company D, and Lt. Joseph A. Cramer of Company K, refused to participate in the massacre. Largely because of their testimony, the massacre was condemned by two congressional investigations. Shortly after his testimony during
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