Monday, November 30, 2020

156 Anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre




Today was the 156th anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre.  A few years ago my husband and I visited the Sand Creek Massacre Historic Site located in a remote area of  Kiowa County, near Eads, on the great high plains of Colorado. This site is sacred, controversial, symbolic, and a reminder of a national tragedy that happened on November 29, 1864.  


Please click on to enlarge tread.


Along the Big Sandy Creek, about 700 Cheyenne and Arapaho native people were living peacefully at a winter camp in what was then Colorado territory. They believed they were under the protection of the US Army by treaty. Many of the men were away hunting for food, so the camp consisted of mainly old people, women, and children. At dawn on November 29, 1864, approximately 675 U.S. volunteer soldiers, commanded by Colonel John M. Chivington, attacked the sleeping natives with guns and cannons. Black Kettle, one of the peace Chiefs, raised an American flag and white truce flag above his tipi, as he had been promised protection, but he also had to flee. While many managed to escape, about 200 women and children, and the elderly struggled to run in the sandy earth of the dry creek bed. Some women tried to dig trenches in the creek bed, or in the hollow logs of cottonwood trees to hide their children, but most were mercilessly slaughtered during the eight hours of fighting. During the afternoon, and the next day, the soldiers wandered over the field committing atrocities on the dead, taking native belongings as souvenirs, and burning down the encampment, before departing the scene on December 1, to resume campaigning.

More about the massacre and other photos can be seen on a prior blog post I wrote about the event --click here.   




The tragic story of the Sand Creek Massacre brings us forward to a present-day tragedy that occurred this summer that resulted in strong protests in Denver.  During those protests, the Civil War Union Soldier statue that you see above was torn down from its pedestal in front of the Colorado Capitol Building.  
Upon serious reflection after the protests, a decision was made in a 7-2 vote of the Capitol Building Advisory Committee, to permanently replace this pedestal and statue with a sculpture of a Native American woman mourning the atrocities of the Sand Creek Massacre.  Representatives from the tribes which suffered at Sand Creek 156 years ago spoke to the committee and helped them make this decision

“They were wiped out,” Otto Braided Hair, of the Northern Cheyenne and a descendant of Sand Creek survivors, told the committee. “Their voices are no longer heard. Their wishes and concerns were no longer heard. Those are the people we speak for.”


To see a prototype of the proposed replacement statue click hereIt will be designed by Havey Pratt a Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal member and a descendant of a Sand Creek survivor. He is recognized as an accomplished master Native American Indian artist. He said the idea of using a grieving Native American mother came to him in a dream.  When it is erected in the future I will take photos of it and update this post.



Meanwhile, the Union soldier statue, erected in 1909 to memorialize those who died defending Colorado from an attempted Confederate insurgence, was loaned to History Colorado Center for a one-year period. The museum approached the state with the offer to display the piece with commentary that explains the differences in how various groups have interpreted its meaning, including tribal anger that the same cavalry units memorialized by the statue for heroism in the Civil War also perpetrated the Sand Creek Massacre two years later.  After that, the statue will most likely be placed in Denver's Veterans Park, which seems like a better place for it to be.



I hope all who celebrated Thanksgiving had a wonderful day!  This year was very different for us, as it was only me and my husband at our celebration dinner, but I still prepared a turkey and all the trimmings, including apple pie for dessert. We didn't Zoom with our family, as everyone was on a different schedule, but we talked on the phone and texted.   It was good to give thanks for all our blessings.  I am also thankful for all of you who read my blog and comment--thank you so very much as you bring joy to my days throughout the year!

 Stay happy, safe, and healthy!

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30 comments:

Michele Morin said...

Another great historical site to add to my growing list!

Dawn said...

Unfortunately, we the people, did not treat the "real" Americans with love and respect. Lies and destruction was what they received. We can't undo the past but we can certainly learn from it.
Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade

namaki said...

This is such a sad part of the American history .... thank you for sharing !

Meditations in Motion said...

Thank you for bringing attention to this tragic and important story. I will visit this monument the next time I am in Colorado (where my son and his family live).

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Many people say that removing and replacing sculptures is an attempt to change history and of course it is not that, it is changing who glorify and remember and so I think rethinking memorials and such by a community is important.

Nellie said...

I am sad to say that there were those associated with my church who had a role in this attack. There has been public apology made, though It took far too many years, in my opinion!

Lydia C. Lee said...

We are having some similar issues here - people argue it's erasing history but it's perhaps learning a more accurate version of history (we merrily erased the killing of the Indigenous people at many places. Even removed them from the Cook's landing painting - the drawing has them in it, the painting done a few months later back in 1885 removed them all. So, perhaps we all relearn history a little more accuarately, and then we don't necessarily want these people revered.

Jeannelle said...

Thank you for the great info about this sad and terrible event. I don't think I've ever heard of it before. Thank you again for your post....it's a moving tribute to the people who were lost in the massacre.

csuhpat1 said...

Wow, such an interesting place. I want to visit. Thanks for sharing it.

Trekking with Becky said...

I didn't know about this. Thank you. Horrible events in history must never be forgotten.

Angie said...

Pat - how interesting that the statue of the Union soldier was INTENDED to memorialize the men who lost their lives defending Colorado, but it was being INTERPRETED differently. An important matter of perspective. I think you are right that it more appropriately belongs with veteran memorials. Thanks for educating us and linking to Mosaic Monday!

Rain said...

Thanks for the history of the Sand Creek Massacre. I'm glad you had a good Thanksgiving despite not being able to have friends and family over!

Fun60 said...

Do you we ever learn from such horrific massacres? I'm not so sure.

Barbara Rogers said...

Thanks for sharing about the massacre, and the plans to move the statue to a more appropriate place. Our nearby city of Asheville NC plans to remove an obilisk in honor of the governor, Vance, during the Civil War. A small gesture, and there are many statues still honoring Confederates around here. Unfortunately, many of their descendants want those statues to remain in place, since these were their heroes from that war. But until history is taught more accurately in schools, it will be really hard to change people's minds.

Jeanie said...

That's interesting. I didn't know the history behind that. The Veterans Park seems like a good final resting place.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Pat

Thanks for sharing this historical place, it is sad how the Native Americans were treated. I definitely like the new statue of the Indian woman mourning. Take care, enjoy your day!

Rambling Woods said...

We treated the native people horribly and yet this is not taught clearly in school...Just awful ...

handmade by amalia said...

How sad. I've heard about this and it was good to learn more.
Amalia
xo

Tom said...

...one of many stains on our history!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

It's so important for us to know and remember what's happened in our history. Thank you so much for sharing! It does make you sad.

NCSue said...

What a tragedy. Sometimes it is hard to use the words "civilization" and "human" in the same sentence. There are times when I feel deeply ashamed of the human race.
Thank you for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2020/11/a-quick-peek-at-cedar-creek-gallery.html

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Thanks for these interesting little nuggets of history.

Spare Parts and Pics said...

So tragic. As others have said, it's so important for us to take an honest lookback at atrocities like this so we don't repeat them. Sometimes I wonder about the human species.

Lisa said...

A part of our history I hadn't read about before. Some things belonging to history need to be in museums, and I like how in the case of that statue, they will mention the changing viewpoints.

MarilynsTreats said...

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diane b said...

Our past history throws up some ghastly deeds. It is hard to believe how this and other massacres of natives could happen. WE have similar stories about our aborigines. It must have been sad not to have family for Thanksgiving. At last our borders are open and my eldest daughter and SIL are driving up here for Christmas. Unfortunately the Melbourne family can't come yet. The air tickets are very expensive.

Lowcarb team member said...

Thank you for sharing the history of the Sand Creek Massacre.

Pleased to read that although different this year with the Covid virus still around you had a good Thanksgiving.

We are not too sure what Christmas will be like, time will tell.

My good wishes.

All the best Jan

betty-NZ said...

Humans are a sad species sometimes. I think we need to remember all of history, not just the parts we like. Thanks for the informative post.

It's great to see your link at 'My Corner of the World' this week!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

We have a shameful legacy, not only with our slavery past, but with how native Americans were treated too. Good to know that the statue was brought down, and will be replaced with a native American woman.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

The replacement” statue is a wonderful idea and I appreciate very much the thoughtful way you shared the original sad story and the present day follow up. We have many sad chapters in our history and it does seem like too many people are unwilling to learn from them. I was heartened to read the comments and know that so many of your readers *were* so willing to accept the changes . I hope when the new statue is completed you will do a new post, so that I won’t miss it (I wasn’t sure what you meant by updating this pos). .... I made our small but complete Thanksgiving dinner for two on the Sunday before and we ate leftovers in out tiny trailer on the real day while listening to the ocean. Like you, we missed family but we have much to be gratitude.