The Sand Creek Massacre
Southern Cheyenne
November 29, 1864


   Colorado Territory during the 1850's and 1860's was a place of phenomenal growth in Colorado homes spurred by gold and silver rushes. Miners by the tens of thousands had elbowed theirway into mineral fields, dislocating and angering the Cheyennes and Arapahos. The Pike's Peak Gold Rush in 1858 brought the the tension to a boiling point. Tribesmen attacked wagon trains, mining camps, and stagecoach lines during the Civil War, when the military garrisons out west were reduced by the war. One white family died within 20 miles of Denver. This outbreak of violence is sometimes referred to as the Cheyenne-Arapaho War or the Colorado War of 1864-65. 
   Governor John Evans of Colorado Territory sought to open up the Cheyenne and Arapaho hunting grounds to white development. The tribes, however, refused to sell their lands and settle on reservations. Evens decided to call out volunteer militiamen under Colonel John Chivington to quell the mounting violence. 
   Evans used isolated incidents of violence as a pretext to order troops into the field under the ambitious, Indian-hating  territory military commander Colonel  Chivington. Though John Chivington had once belonged to the clergy, his compassion for his fellow man didn't extend to the Indians. 

Painting of the Sand Creek Massacre. Later dispelled as inaccurate.
Sand Creek Massacre

   In the spring of 1864, while the Civil War raged in the east, Chivington launched a campaign of violence against the Cheyenne and their allies, his troops attacking any and all Indians and razing their villages. The Cheyennes, joined by neighboring Arapahos, Sioux, Comanches, and Kiowas in both Colorado and Kansas, went on the defensive warpath.
   Evans and Chivington reinforced their militia, raising the Third Colorado Calvary of short-term volunteers who referred to themselves as "Hundred Dazers". After a summer of scattered small raids and clashes, white and Indian representatives met at Camp Weld outside of Denver on September 28. No treaties were signed, but the Indians believed that by reporting and camping near army posts, they would be declaring peace and accepting sanctuary. 
   Black Kettle was a peace-seeking chief of a band of some 600 Southern Cheyennes  and Arapahos that followed the buffalo along the Arkansas River of Colorado and Kansas. They reported to Fort Lyon and then camped on Sand Creek about 40 miles north.
   Shortly afterward, Chivington led a force of about 700 men into Fort Lyon, and gave the garrison notice of his plans for an attack on the Indian encampment. Although he was informed that Black Kettle has already surrendered, Chivington pressed on with what he considered the perfect opportunity to further the cause for Indian extinction. On the morning of November 29, he led his troops, many of them drinking heavily, to Sand Creek and positioned them, along with their four howitzers, around the Indian village. 
   Black Kettle ever trusting raised both an American and a white flag of peace over his tepee. In response, Chivington raised his arm for the attack. Chivington wanted a victory, not prisoners, and so men, women and children were hunted down and shot. 
   With cannons and rifles pounding them, the Indians scattered in panic. Then the crazed soldiers charged and killed anything that moved. A few warriors managed to fight back to allow some of the tribe to escape across the stream, including Black Kettle. 
   The colonel was as thourough as he was heartless. An interpreter living in the village testified, "THEY WERE SCALPED, THEIR BRAINS KNOCKED OUT; THE MEN USED THEIR KNIVES, RIPPED OPEN WOMEN, CLUBBED LITTLE CHILDREN, KNOCKED THEM IN THE HEAD WITH THEIR RIFLE BUTTS, BEAT THEIR BRAINS OUT, MUTILATED THEIR BODIES IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD." By the end of the one-sided battle as many as 200 Indians, more than half women and children, had been killed and mutilated. 
   While the Sand Creek Massacre outraged easterners, it seemed to please many people in Colorado Territory. Chivington later appeared on a Denver stage where he regaled delighted audiences with his war stories and displayed 100 Indian scalps, including the pubic hairs of women.
   Chivington was later denounced in a congressional investigation and forced to resign. When asked at the military inquiry why children had been killed, one of the soldiers quoted Chivington as saying, "NITS MAKE LICE."  Yet the after-the-fact reprimand of the colonel meant nothing to the Indians.
   As word of the massacre spread among them via refugees, Indians of the southern and northern plains stiffened in their resolve to resist white encroachment. An avenging wildfire swept the land and peace returned only after a quarter of a century.


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Native American Poetry
Click below to buy the original screenplay by Michael B. Druxman
SARAH GOLDEN HAIR

SARAH GOLDEN HAIR is an original screenplay by Michael B. Druxman, who also wrote CHEYENNE WARRIOR (1994).

Synopsis: During the infamous Sand Creek Massacre of November 29, 1864 in which a group of Colorado Militia slaughtered over 100 peaceful Cheyenne men, women and children, scout Robert Bent rescues Sarah Lindstrom and her child from the devastated Indian camp and takes her to safety. Sarah had been adopted by the Cheyenne when she was nine, after white renegades killed her mother and brother, and now she is happily married to Brave Wolf, a Cheyenne warrior chief.

Bent escorts Sarah and her child to the Wyoming Territory where her father, now remarried, owns a trading post.

While Sarah and her “new” family adjust to each other, Bent searches for Brave Wolf, hoping to reunite husband and wife. But Brave Wolf is now being hunted by the U.S. Cavalry, branded a renegade for exacting a bloody revenge against the whites who were at Sand Creek.

SARAH GOLDEN HAIR is not only a classic western in the tradition of DANCES WITH WOLVES and CHEYENNE WARRIOR, but it is also a great love story about family and people who must adjust to changing times. ...



Native American Poetry
Click below to buy the book by Thom Hatch
Black Kettle : The Cheyenne Chief Who Sought Peace But Found War

Synopsis: Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Geronimo. Their names ring down through history as symbols of noble defiance against overwhelming odds. These great warrior chiefs challenged the might of theU.S. Army in desperate and doomed attempts to end white encroachment on their land and preserve their traditional ways of life. We honor their memories not for their success, but for their courage. There was another great chief, no lesscourageous, who believed that the only way to save his people was by waging ...


Native American atrocities

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Massacre at Sand Creek - Southern Cheyenne
Wounded Knee - Lakota
The Great Cherokee Children Massacre at Ywahoo Falls
Bear River - Shoshone
Fort Jones Treaty - Shasta


Wind Wolf Woman


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