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Sand Creek Massacre

National Historic Site - Colorado

The Sand Creek massacre (also known as the Chivington massacre, the Battle of Sand Creek or the massacre of Cheyenne Indians) was a massacre in the American Indian Wars that occurred on November 29, 1864, when a 675-man force of Colorado U.S. Volunteer Cavalry attacked and destroyed a village of Cheyenne and Arapaho in southeastern Colorado Territory, killing and mutilating an estimated 70–163 Native Americans, about two-thirds of whom were women and children.

location

maps

Official Visitor Map of Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site (NHS) in Colorado. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Sand Creek Massacre - Visitor Map

Official Visitor Map of Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site (NHS) in Colorado. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units and Regions

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Heritage Areas

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

brochures

Official Brochure of Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site (NHS) in Colorado. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Sand Creek Massacre - Brochure

Official Brochure of Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site (NHS) in Colorado. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Attach Map for Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site (NHS) in Colorado. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Sand Creek Massacre - Attack Map

Attach Map for Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site (NHS) in Colorado. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of Great Plains at Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site (NHS) in Colorado. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Sand Creek Massacre - Great Plains

Map of Great Plains at Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site (NHS) in Colorado. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

https://www.nps.gov/sand/index.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand_Creek_Massacre_National_Historic_Site The Sand Creek massacre (also known as the Chivington massacre, the Battle of Sand Creek or the massacre of Cheyenne Indians) was a massacre in the American Indian Wars that occurred on November 29, 1864, when a 675-man force of Colorado U.S. Volunteer Cavalry attacked and destroyed a village of Cheyenne and Arapaho in southeastern Colorado Territory, killing and mutilating an estimated 70–163 Native Americans, about two-thirds of whom were women and children. On November 29th, 1864, Chiefs Black Kettle, White Antelope, Left Hand and others were encamped with around 750 Arapaho and Cheyenne people in a valley by the Big Sandy Creek. A hope for peace, brought forth by Black Kettle was in the balance. It was a tragic day where the blood of the Cheyenne and Arapaho was shed, and a painful memory for generations of Native Americans was made. The Sand Creek Massacre is located in Kiowa County, Colorado. To visit the site, follow Colorado State Highway 96 east off Highway 287 near Eads, or west off Highway 385 at Sheridan Lake. Near Chivington, turn north onto County Road 54/Chief White Antelope Way or at Brandon, turn north onto County Road 59. Follow these roads to their intersections with County Road W. The park entrance is along CR W a mile east (right) of CR 54 or several miles west (left) of CR 59. Eight miles of dirt/sand roads lead to the Visitor Contact Station The Contact Station is located at the historic site, which is eight miles north of the town of Chivington. It provides education and orientation materials and has a sales outlet for educational merchandise. The Contact Station maintains the same hours as the park. NOTE: Bookstore sales end at 3:30 pm. The Sand Creek Massacre contact station is located approximately 23 miles east of Eads, Colorado. From Highway 96, turn north onto Chief White Antelope Way (County Rd 54). In 7 miles, turn right (east) onto County Road W. The entrance will be in approximately one mile on the left (north) side of the road. Visitor and Education Center The Sand Creek Massacre Visitor and Education Center is located in downtown Eads, Colorado. It provides education and orientation materials and has a sales outlet for educational merchandise. On the second floor there is an exhibit space featuring images of people connected to the Sand Creek Massacre. From highway 287, turn onto Maine St. (left hand turn if coming from the north, right hand turn if coming from the south) and drive over the railway tracks. Continue on Maine St. for approximately one block and the Visitor and Education Center will be on the right hand side at the intersection with 13th St. Cheyenne Lodges at Dawn Four white Indian lodges on a grassy plain. Cheyenne and Arapaho Lodges erected in commemoration of the 150th Year of the Sand Creek Massacre Remembering the Past A lone tipi frame and two wayside signs stand in a snow-covered landscape A tipi frame is backlit by an evening sky. Sunset along Sand Creek The uppermost branches of leafless trees in a grassy plain are lit by the setting sun. The setting sun highlights trees along Sand Creek, forming a hauntingly beautiful landscape Tipi Frame at Dusk A tipi frame is silhouetted by the evening sky. The silhouette of a lone tipi at dusk symbolizes the tragic events that occurred in 1864 and of the indomitable spirit of the Cheyenne and Arapaho people, who overcame the tragedy and continue to work with the NPS to preserve its memory and legacy. Winter clouds over Sand Creek An expanse of winter prairie with brown grasses, leafless trees, and low clouds above. Winter on the Southeastern Colorado Plains can produce beautiful scenes such as this. Snow on Monument Hill Overlook A wayside in the snow-covered foreground with a winter plain stretching behind. This tranquil winter view shows snow throughout the Sand Creek Valley. Wetland, Riparian, Geomorphology, and Floodplain Conditions at Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site In 2004, the National Park Service Water Resources Division evaluated soil, wetland, and riparian habitat conditions in Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site. A team of hydrologists and wetland scientists conducted a preliminary assessment of the site’s hydrologic and geomorphic conditions (surface features). The soils, hydrology, and wildlife habitat of the site were determined to be extremely sensitive to human traffic and other alterations. Wetland in Sand Creek Massacre NHS NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, Colorado Sand Creek Massacre NHS is located on the Colorado Piedmont, part of the Great Plains physiographic province in eastern Colorado. Bedrock exposure is poor in the region, but the area is underlain by the Cretaceous Niobrara Formation. Links to products from Baseline Geologic and Soil Resources Inventories provide access to maps and reports. park sign: sand creek massacre national historic site Multiple Lines of Evidence: Searching for the Sand Creek Massacre Site In 1864, the U. S. Army carried out a surprise attack on a non-combatant encampment of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians along the Big Sandy Creek in southeastern Colorado, killing about 160 men, women, and children, including elderly or infirm. To preserve the memory of this tragic event, the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site was established following a multi-disciplinary effort to identify the actual location of the attack. Detail from The Sand Creek Massacre, elk hide painting by Eagle Robe Sand Creek Massacre Breeding Bird Inventory The Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory conducted the breeding bird inventory at Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site in spring and summer 2005. Mountain plover Exotic Plants Monitoring in the Southern Plains and Chihuahuan Desert National parks, like other publicly managed lands, are deluged by new exotic species arriving through predictable (e.g., road, trail, and riparian corridors), sudden (e.g., long distance dispersal through cargo containers and air freight), and unexpected anthropogenic pathways (e.g., weed seeds mixed in with restoration planting mixes). Landscape with a uniform, green foreground consisting of invasive kochia Colorado: Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site tells the story of that fatal attack and its repercussions. site of the massacre The Civilian Experience in the Civil War After being mere spectators at the war's early battles, civilians both near and far from the battlefields became unwilling participants and victims of the war as its toll of blood and treasure grew year after year. In response to the hardships imposed upon their fellow citizens by the war, civilians on both sides mobilized to provide comfort, encouragement, and material, and began to expect that their government should do the same. Painting of civilians under fire during the Siege of Vicksburg Climate Change in the Southern Plains Network Climate change may have direct and/or indirect effects on many elements of Southern Plains network ecosystems, from streams and grasslands to fires and birds. Russian knapweed (Acroptilon repens) is an invasive plant that has invaded the Southern Plains Climate Monitoring in the Southern Plains, Sonoran Desert, and Chihuahuan Desert Climate is one of many ecological indicators monitored by the National Park Service (NPS) Division of Inventory & Monitoring (I&M). Climate data help scientists to understand ecosystem processes and help to explain many of the patterns and trends observed in other natural-resource monitoring. In NPS units of the American Southwest, three I&M networks monitor climate using the scientific protocol described here. Kayaking across a fl ooded parking lot, Chickasaw NRA, July 2007. Southwestern Plains The Plains of the Southwest include the southern Great Plains, the High Plains, Llano Estacado (Staked Plains), and Edwards Plateau. Sunset lights up the grass at Capulin Volcano National Monument Hancock's War Major General Winfield S. Hancock came out to the Southern Plains in the Spring of 1867 to quell a suspected Indian uprising. He was a distinguished U.S. Army officer with an impressive record, especially for service during the Civil War. However, dealing with an enemy so culturally dissimilar to him proved a difficult challenge. Instead of pacifying the Indians, his burning of a local Indian village incited a summer of violence known to history as "Hancock's War." Black and white head photo of Winfield Scott Hancock Series: Defining the Southwest The Southwest has a special place in the American imagination – one filled with canyon lands, cacti, roadrunners, perpetual desert heat, a glaring sun, and the unfolding of history in places like Tombstone and Santa Fe. In the American mind, the Southwest is a place without boundaries – a land with its own style and its own pace – a land that ultimately defies a single definition. Maize agriculture is one component of a general cultural definition of the Southwest. Series: Southern Plains Bird Inventories Birds are a highly visible component of many ecosystems and because they respond quickly to changes in resource conditions, birds are good indicators of environmental change. Bird inventories allow us to understand the current condition, or status, of bird populations and communities in parks. These data are important for managing birds and other resources and provide baseline information for monitoring changes over time. Violet-green swallow A Century of Dishonor by Helen Hunt Jackson Read about one of the books that can be found in the library at James A. Garfield National Historic Site by author Helen Hunt Jackson whom shared a mutual acquaintance, Emily Dickinson, with First Lady Lucretia Rudolph. The book was a gift to the newly elected president in January 1881. a red book with the title A Century of Dishonor by Helen Hunt Jackson Changing Patterns of Water Availability May Change Vegetation Composition in US National Parks Across the US, changes in water availability are altering which plants grow where. These changes are evident at a broad scale. But not all areas experience the same climate in the same way, even within the boundaries of a single national park. A new dataset gives park managers a valuable tool for understanding why vegetation has changed and how it might change in the future under different climate-change scenarios. Green, orange, and dead grey junipers in red soil, mountains in background Making an Impact: Long-Term Monitoring of Natural Resources at Intermountain Region National Parks, 2021 Across the Intermountain Region, Inventory & Monitoring Division ecologists are helping to track the effects of climate change, provide baseline information for resource management, evaluate new technologies, and inspire the next generation of park stewards. This article highlights accomplishments achieved during fiscal year 2021. A man looks through binoculars at sunrise. A Changing Bimodal Climate Zone Means Changing Vegetation in Western National Parks When the climate changes enough, the vegetation communities growing in any given place will also change. Under an expanded bimodal climate zone, some plant communities in western national parks are more likely to change than others. National Park Service ecologists and partners investigated the future conditions that may force some of this change. Having this information can help park managers decide whether to resist, direct, or accept the change. Dark storm clouds and rainbow over mountains and saguaros. My Park Story: Amy McKinney Amy McKinney, museum curator, shares her personal story of why she chose museum work and how she started her NPS career. A woman wearing a gray shirt and white gloves holds up an old, framed advertisement. Overview of the Sand Creek Massacre At dawn on November 29, 1864, approximately 675 U.S. volunteer soldiers commanded by Colonel John M. Chivington attacked a village of about 700 Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians along Sand Creek in southeastern Colorado Territory. Series: Understanding Sand Creek The background of the Sand Creek Massacre lay in a whirlwind of events and issues registered by the ongoing Civil War in the East and West. Perhaps most importantly, the causes of the Sand Creek Massacre lay in the irresistible momentum of Manifest Destiny-the United States' objective to establish dominance over the lands between the Mississippi River and the Pacific coast. The Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site was established in 2007, the culmination of a decade-long process. Prairie landscape with thunderstorms on the horizon The Road to Sand Creek Learn more about the background of the Sand Creek Massacre. Perhaps most importantly, the causes of the Sand Creek Massacre lay in the irresistible momentum of Manifest Destiny-the United States' objective to establish dominance over the lands between the Mississippi River and the Pacific coast. Legacies of Sand Creek Despite the catastrophe that had befallen the people at Sand Creek, the Cheyenne and Arapaho nations survived. The stunned survivors related the nightmare that occurred along what they called the Little Dry River to their stunned audience in the camps on the Smoky Hill River. Challenges to Native people continued into the 20th Century leading to the eventual establishment of a unit of the National Park System at Sand Creek. National Park Service project to build up 'workhorse' native seed stocks for major restoration and revegetation efforts The National Park Service, with funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will be able to build up stocks of the native workhorse plant species that can out compete invasive plant species so that native grasses and forbs can grow in previously disturbed areas.  a man kneels next to a bucket collecting seeds in a field
Sand Creek Massacre Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site Colorado National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior It was hard to see little children … their brains beat out by men professing to be civilized. Eagle Robe (Eugene J. Ridgely Sr.) painted this elk hide in 1994, from Arapaho oral tradition. His greatgrandfather, Lame Man, escaped the massacre. Capt. Silas Soule to Maj. Edward W. Wynkoop, December 1864 Attack at Dawn A column of riders moves up Big Sandy Creek as the village awakens on November 29, 1864. This is no ordinary village; it is a chiefs’ village, with over 750 people and at least 33 chiefs and headmen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho. All believe they are safe here, within the 1861 Fort Wise Treaty Lands. Women think they hear buffalo approaching. The “buffalo” are US Army soldiers—well-trained troops of the 1st Regiment Cavalry (Colorado US Volunteer) and raw recruits of the 3rd Regiment Cavalry. The soldiers have guns and howitzers. A US flag and a white flag of truce flutter from a lodgepole at Cheyenne Peace Chief Black Kettle’s tipi, but the soldiers are undeterred. Startled men reach for their weapons. White Antelope and other chiefs walk toward the mounted soldiers. The cavalry open fire. Women, children, and elderly flee. Black Kettle survives unscathed, but White Antelope and Left Hand are hit; both will die from their wounds. Col. John Chivington arrives. He orders the 1st Regiment to fire into the fleeing villagers. Mayhem ensues as his soldiers massacre Cheyenne and Arapaho people. Capt. Silas Soule and Lt. Joseph Cramer defy Chivington and order their companies (D and K of the 1st Regiment) to stand down. They witness the executions of those who surrender and others who try to escape along the sandy creek bed. When the firing stops, over 230 Cheyenne and Arapaho, including 13 Council and four Soldier chiefs, lie murdered. US Army casualties amount to about 18 dead and 70 wounded. Reports exaggerate the number of Indians killed at 500. Soldiers loot, scalp, and mutilate the dead. They ransack and burn the village. They take human body parts as trophies along with 600 horses. Surviving Cheyenne and Arapaho, wounded and bleeding, escape north toward the Smoky Hill River. COURTESY RIDGELY FAMILY, NORTHERN ARAPAHO We ran up the creek with the cavalry following us … [it] was now a terrible sight: men, women, and children lying thickly scattered on the sand. George Bent, Sand Creek survivor Path to Tragedy The Central Plains, which stretch from the Missouri River to the Rockies, were home to thousands of Plains Indians—Cheyenne, Arapaho, Comanche, Lakota, and others. They adopted the horse for hunting buffalo—the main source for their material culture and food. In winter, certain locales along creeks and rivers offered firewood, shelter from bitter winds, and drinking water. Big Sandy Creek was one such place. People of many tribes paused here while traveling the Smoky Hill Lodgepole Trail. In 1821 European Americans began to cross the Central Plains in greater numbers, first on the Santa Fe Trail, which followed the Arkansas River, and later along the Oregon Trail, which followed the Platte River. Some tribes saw the newcomers as trespassers in their hunting territories. Tension and violence resulted. The US government sought peace through treaties that acknowledged the tribes as ”dependent, domestic nations.” The 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty defined the Plains tribes’ territory. It promised them protection and annuities (provisions) in return for safe passage by travelers through Indian lands. The treaty did not achieve lasting peace. In the late 1850s prospectors struck gold in the Rocky Mountains. Realizing that Indian lands might include rich mineral resources, the US government reneged on the 1851 treaty. A new Fort Wise Treaty (1861) required the Cheyenne and Arapaho to cede all their previously agreed territory except a small reservation. Six Cheyenne and four Arapaho chiefs signed. Many more refused. Despite the discord, Congress created Colorado Territory in 1861. Only a few months later, the Civil War began. The US Army withdrew most of its regulars from the frontier for service back east. In 1862 Congress passed the Homestead and Pacific Railway Acts, which eventually led to more westward migration. Col. John Chivington, a Civil War hero, commanded the troops of the Colorado Military District. Chivington, who had political aspirations, reportedly said, ”It is right or honorable to use any means under God’s heaven to kill Indians....” In spring 1864 he ordered attacks on four Cheyenne villages. When his regiment killed Peace Chief Lean Bear, Plains warriors retaliated. Some Indian leaders appealed for peace in a conference at Camp Weld, near Denver, with Territorial Governor John Evans and Chivington. Those Indians desiring peace were told to report to Fort Lyon. Many did, and then encamped at Sand Creek. On November 29, 1864, Chivington led the attack
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Little Bighorn 1876 Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation Wounded Knee 1890 Wind River Indian Reservation M is so ur i Ri ve r Fort Laramie 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty No e South P l att rth Plat il Tra ver Ri t e Rive r Or e go n Trail Denver 1858 Gold discovered Independence Smoky Bent’s Old Fort il Fort Wise (Lyon) Arka nsas Riv r e San ta Santa Fe Hill l Trai SAND CREEK MASSACRE Fe Tr a 1861 Fort Wise Treaty Pikes Peak 1865 Little Arkansas and 1867 Medicine Lodge Treaties Washita 1868 1869 Executive Order Concho Headquarters of Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma

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