Colorado September 30, 2017
Not Many People Know The Story Behind This Violent Time In Colorado History
How much do you remember from your junior high Colorado history class? If you are like me, you probably just remember that Alferd Packer ate a bunch of people and that Colorado is nicknamed the Centennial State (NOT the Rocky Mountain State), right? While these are both important parts of Colorado’s history, there is another vital time that is often overlooked but should NEVER be forgotten, which is that of the violent Sand Creek Massacre:
It was 1864 when tensions between Colorado's white settlers and Native Americans were at a record high, due to both the on-going territorial disputes and recent murders of Cheyenne Indians in Kansas.
Because of this, then-governor John Evans (pictured) invited the native Plains Indians to a safe area, many of which accepted, minus some who refused to leave their homes, in-turn leading to the violent Sand Creek massacre.
On November 29, 1864, U.S. Army Colonel John Chivington (pictured) lead 700 men from the Colorado Territory militia to where the Cheyenne and Arapaho Native Americans were living and completely blind-sided the tribes by ransacking their village and killing/mutilating somewhere between 70-160 men, women, and children.
After these senseless acts were committed, official investigations conducted by both the military and Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War occurred, concluding that Chivington and his men had vindicated "the cause of justice and upholding the honor of the nation," and that "prompt and energetic measures should be at once taken to remove from office those who have thus disgraced the government by whom they are employed, and to punish, as their crimes deserve, those who have been guilty of these brutal and cowardly acts."
Following the massacre and corresponding investigations, the Treaty of the Little Arkansas was signed, promising the Indians access to the lands south of the Arkansas River, as well as restitution to the survivors of Sand Creek.
Today, you can visit the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site -- which was established in 2007 and is located at 55411 County Rd W in Eads -- for yourself to see just where these unspeakable crimes were committed.
For even more fascinating Colorado history, check out the
11 Insane Things That Happened In Colorado You Won’t Find in History Books.