Colorado to Open Sand Creek Massacre Exhibit in Partnership with Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes

Three tribal nations and History Colorado come together to share the story of the atrocity that was the Sand Creek Massacre.

On November 19 a new exhibition The Sand Creek Massacre: The Betrayal That Changed the Cheyenne and Arapaho Peoples Foreveropen to Colorado History Center in Denver. The exhibit chronicles the deadliest day in Colorado history, November 1. On December 29, 1864, when American troops brutally attacked a peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho village that had been promised military protection. More than 230 women, children and elderly people were murdered that day.

The exhibit was produced in extensive consultation with representatives of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes. For the first time, History Colorado will share the events of the Sand Creek Massacre based on tribal accounts and oral histories of descendants of those who survived the massacre.

“It was genocide. We need to educate people and heal our people so that something like this doesn’t happen again,” said Chester Whiteman (Southern Cheyenne). we’re all human.”

“The Sand Creek Massacre is sacred,” said Gail Ridgely (Northern Arapaho). “Historical remembrance, educational awareness and spiritual healing are very important to the Cheyenne and Arapaho people.”

History Colorado will highlight the living culture of the Cheyenne and Arapaho, two distinct tribes with distinct histories who were forever linked after the Sand Creek tragedy. Forced out of Colorado after the massacre, the Cheyenne and Arapaho peoples exist today as three sovereign tribal nations in Montana, Oklahoma and Wyoming. The exhibit is the result of a decade-long partnership process that began in 2012 between History Colorado and the Tribal Nations.

“This exhibition offers universal and timely lessons that fear, racism, greed and stereotypes can have catastrophic consequences. History Colorado is committed to educating our community about this horrific event in our history,” said Dawn DiPrince, executive director of History Colorado and state historic preservation officer. “We are grateful to our tribal partners for their generous knowledge contributions to the development of this important exhibit.”

The exhibition will allow visitors to discover:

  • Historical and contemporary objects exploring Cheyenne culture and traditions;
  • Photos and artifacts depicting the Arapaho people from the 1900s to today;
  • Teepees built in the Cheyenne and Arapaho styles;
  • Audio guides in four languages: Cheyenne, Arapaho, Spanish and English;
  • A listening station for the oral histories of Cheyenne and Arapaho descendants of massacre survivors;
  • A listening station for letters written by the soldiers who heroically refused their orders to attack the peaceful camps of Cheyenne and Arapaho;
  • Historical records of congressional and military investigations that took place after the massacre;
  • The establishment of the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service (NPS), and;
  • A look at the three tribal nations today and the ongoing efforts to commemorate, educate and heal from the massacre.

“This exhibit will include information about Cheyenne and Arapaho life before the massacre, life today, and our efforts to remember the massacre,” says Fred Mosqueda (Southern Arapaho). Each element of the exhibit has been reviewed and approved by tribal representatives. Following the correct protocol, this consultation ensures that the posting respects the memory of the victims. At the request of the tribes, the exhibit will not include artifacts from the day or the site of the massacre.

“We’ve had some tough times in the past with History Colorado. This exhibit shows commitment and dedication,” said Otto Braided Hair, Jr. (Northern Cheyenne).

“The Sand Creek Massacre exhibit will demonstrate that people can humbly work together to remember and begin to heal from atrocities and betrayals like this,” said Shannon Voirol, Sand Creek Massacre Project Director at History Colorado. .

The Sand Creek Massacre: The Betrayal That Changed the Cheyenne and Arapaho Peoples Forever was made possible by substantial grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

About Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site
The Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, located in rural southeast Colorado, was licensed in the fall of 2000 in conjunction with the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes and dedicated in April 2007. As of October 2022, the site area history was more than doubled. Legislation authorizing the site directs the National Park Service to manage the cultural landscape and share the story of the massacre with the public. The park is open Thursday through Monday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Visit the website to plan your visit:

“The Sand Creek Massacre evokes many feelings – loss, suffering, pain and survival – universal emotions that connect this small place in southeastern Colorado to people and places far beyond Sand Creek,” says Janet Frederick, superintendent of the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site. To place. “We believe the History Colorado exhibit will give the public an introduction and impetus to come to Eads and experience the site first hand.”

About Colorado History
History Colorado is a division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education and a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that has served more than 75,000 students and 500,000 people in Colorado each year. It is a 143-year-old institution that operates eleven museums and historic sites, a free public research center, the Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation, and the Colorado State Historical Fund (SHF), which is the biggest preservation program of it’s nice. More than 70% of SHF grants are allocated to rural areas of the state.

History Colorado’s mission is to create a better future for Colorado by inspiring the wonder of our past. It serves as a state memorial, preserving and sharing Colorado’s places, stories, and material culture through educational programs, historic preservation grants, fundraising, Colorado community outreach, the History Colorado Center and the Stephen H. Hart Research Center in Denver, and ten other museums and historical attractions throughout the state. History Colorado is one of only six Smithsonian affiliates in Colorado. Visit or call 303-HISTORY for more information.

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James C. Tibbs