Thursday, November 23, 2006

This Weekend in Denver: Remember Sand Creek!

If you're in Denver this weekend, and want something to do rather than shop, come to the events listed below. They'll change your life, in a good and profoundly healing way. Trust me. You'll be glad you did. Peace, Val.

The following history of Sand Creek is taken in its entirety from the Colorado AIM weblog. All rights remain with the authors. For more awesome indigenous info and updates, go to

Never Forget the Sand Creek Massacre

One of the essential events that ensured the creation and expansion of Colorado as a colonizing project was the Sand Creek Massacre of November 29, 1864. The number of innocent Cheyenne and Arapaho people who were slaughtered at the hands of Methodist minister John Chivington's 3rd Colorado troops will never be known. Chivington bragged that over 500-600 were murdered -- contemporary historians place the number at from 200-300. Regardless, the reality is that the massacre was the result of an invading people, attacking and massacring defenseless elders, children and women. The attack was deliberately genocidal -- prior to riding to Sand Creek, Chivington was asked if the Native children should be killed. His response was "Kill and scalp all, big and little, nits make lice." His troops complied.

Two elements of Sand Creek are often obscured. One is the fact that a few days prior to the annual anniversary of the Sand Creek massacre, the people of the U.S. engage in their annual festival of gluttony and excess, also known as Thanksgiving. U.S. zombies wander in a total amnesiac stupor, oblivious to the carnage (such as at Sand Creek) that allows them today to occupy First Nations' homelands. The second obscured element is the consistent sanitation of the horrific, sexualized violence that Chivington and his American patriots inflicted at Sand Creek. Often, the massacre is described as the "killing and the mutilation" of the innocent victims -- nowhere approaching (as you will see below) the actual depravity of the troops.

As with Columbus and other genocidal actors, contemporary apologists attempt to minimize criminality with the justification that Chivington and Co. were simply "products of their own time," as though there were some irresistible 19th Century genetic code that was being obeyed. We know that such was not the case, because some troops refused to participate in the massacre. One heroic figure was Captain Silas Soule. Soule not only refused to follow Chivington's lead at Sand Creek, but he ordered his troops not to participate in the attack. Later, Soule would testify against Chivington and the 3rd Colorado Volunteers. On April 23, 1865, three days after Chvington was released from custody, Soule was assassinated on the streets of downtown Denver, reportedly by Chivington's agents.

Kneeling: Maj. Edward Wyncoop (left) and Captain Silas S. Soule (without hat); Seated, from left: White Antelope, Bull Bear, Black Kettle, Neva, and Notanee. Standing, unknown, unknown, John S. Smith, Heaps of Buffalo, Bosse, Dexter Colley, and unknown.

Soule's eyewitness accounts of the massacre are recorded for posterity in letters that he sent to his commanding officer, Major Edward Wyncoop. Soule's graphic testimony provides damning evidence against not only Chivington and the Colorado 3rd, but also of those who incited the massacre in Denver: Rocky Mountain News owner and publisher William Byers and John Evans -- who would become Colorado's first governor.

Soule wrote to Wyncoop on December 14, 1864:

"I told him [Chivington] that I would not take part in their intended murder....I refused to fire, and swore that none but a coward would, for this time hundreds of women and children were coming toward us, and getting on their knees for mercy. *** The massacre lasted six or eight was hard to see ittle children on their knees, have their brains beat out by men professing to be civilized. *** One Squaw with her two children, were on their knees, begging for their lives, of a dozen soldiers, within ten feet of them all firing -- when one succeeded in hitting the Squaw in the thigh, when she took a knife out and cut the throats of both children, and then killed herself. *** [t]hey were all scalped, and as high as a dozen taken from one head. They were horribly mutilated. One woman was cut open, and a child taken out of her, and scalped. White Antelope, War Bonnet, and a number of others had Ears and Privates cut off. Squaws snatches were cut out for trophies. You would think it impossible for white men to butcher and mutilate human beings as they did there, but every word I told you is the truth, which they do not deny."

This short excerpt, of a much longer and disgusting account, indicates the genocidal foundation upon which Denver and Colorado is constructed. In order to ensure that Denver and Colorado never forget the bloody origins of the state, Colorado AIM will join our relatives from the Northern Cheyenne Nation in the Sand Creek Memorial Run. Everyone is welcome to join us. The details are:

Sand Creek Spiritual Healing Run participants gathering Nov. 23-25, 2006.

DENVER—The Sand Creek Spiritual Healing Run on Nov. 23–25 will serve as sobering reminder, and a time to heal from one of Colorado’s darkest moments in history: the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre. On November 29, 1864, Col. John M. Chivington led the Colorado Volunteers to Sand Creek and initiated a gruesome attack that killed over 200 peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho men, women and children. The Sand Creek Spiritual Healing Run started in 1999 to address the need to educate people about the travesties of the horrific incident and to commemorate the victims and survivors.

Public is welcome. Media are encouraged to cover the following event(s).

Thursday, November 23

7 AM Sunrise Ceremony at the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, located 18 miles northeast of Eads in southeastern Colorado

9 AM Commencement of Healing Run from the Sand Creek Massacre Site through Eads, Colorado to Denver
Friday, November 24

7 AM Sunrise Ceremony – TBA
Continue Healing Run to Denver

7 PM Candlelight Vigil at the Denver Art Museum Wheel sculpture, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, Denver

Saturday, November 25

8 AM Honoring Ceremony at Riverside Cemetery, 5201 Brighton Boulevard, Denver, for Captain Silas Soule, Company D 1st Colorado Calvary, U.S. Army and Lieutenant Joseph
A. Cramer, Company K 8th Ohio Calvary, U.S. Army

9 AM Continue Healing Run from Riverside Cemetery to the Colorado State Capitol Building

9:50 AM At 15th and Arapahoe —the site where Silas Soule was assassinated—a walking portion of this years event will begin. The walkers will join with runners and continue the remaining 1 mile to the where the run/ walk will conclude.

11AM Presentation at the Colorado State Capitol Building, Denver (West side)

NOON Reception for Sand Creek Healing Run participants at the Colorado History Museum, Boettcher Auditorium, 1300 Broadway, Denver
Contact: Bill Tall Bull, Sand Creek Spiritual Healing Run, (303) 329-7390,


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