DENVER (PDPR) — November is Native American Heritage Month, and amid the month-long celebrations, History Colorado opened a new exhibit Saturday to bring attention to the state’s darkest and deadliest chapter.
Almost 158 years ago, on November 29, 1864, U.S. Army troops led an assault on a peaceful Native American village, killing over 230 women on what remains the deadliest day in Colorado history , children and elders.
This tragic attack is known as The Sand Creek Massacre, and a memorial ceremony was held Saturday to open the latest exhibit highlighting it at the History Colorado Center in Denver, “The Sand Creek Massacre: The Betrayal That Cheyenne and Arapaho changed people forever.”
History The grand opening of the Sand Creek Massacre in Colorado
To organize this exhibit, History Colorado consulted with members of the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes who were able to convey their tribes’ oral histories and tribal accounts of that horrific day so long ago.
“It was genocide. We need to educate people and heal them so this doesn’t happen again,” said Chester Whiteman of the Southern Cheyenne Tribe. “I hope that this exhibition will make people understand that we are all human.”
After this deadly US government attack, the Cheyenne and Arapaho were expelled from the state and taken to Montana, Oklahoma, and Wyoming, where they exist today as three sovereign tribal nations.
“This exhibit will include information about Cheyenne and Arapaho life before the massacre, life today, and our efforts to commemorate the massacre,” said tribal historian and Sand Creek descendant Fred Mosqueda of the Southern Arapaho tribe.
Every aspect of this exhibit has been thoroughly reviewed by tribal officials, according to History Colorado.
“The Sand Creek massacre is sacred,” said Gail Ridgely of the Northern Arapaho tribe. “Historical commemoration, educational awareness, and spiritual healing are very important to the people of Cheyenne and Arapaho.”
The History Colorado exhibit includes:
- A listening station for oral histories of descendants of the massacre
- A listening station for letters from soldiers who refused to take part in the attack on the peaceful village
- Historically significant documents from congressional and military investigations following the massacre
- “The Story of the Spiritual Healing Walk of the Sand Creek Massacre that Leads From the Site of the Massacre to Denver Each Year”
- Stories of members of the sovereign tribes resettled in Montana, Oklahoma, and Wyoming.
“The Sand Creek Massacre exhibit will demonstrate that people can humbly work together to remember and heal from atrocities and betrayals like this,” said Shannon Voirol, Sand Creek Massacre Project Manager at History Colorado. “It will also provide universal, timely lessons that fear, racism and stereotyping can and do lead to disastrous consequences.”
Be sure to visit their website to learn more and plan your visit.
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