A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling over the Memory of Sand Creek
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On November 29, 1864, over 150 Native Americans, mostly women, children, and elderly, were slaughtered in one of the most infamous cases of state-sponsored violence in U.S. history. Kelman examines how generations of Americans have struggled with the question of whether the nation’s crimes, as well as its achievements, should be memorialized.
transfer ceremony, author and activist Suzan Shown Harjo penned an exposé for the online edition of Indian Country Today, the nation’s largest weekly newspaper devoted to covering Native American issues. A headline asked, “Who’s Keeping Secrets from the Sand Creek Descendants?” Harjo answered: “There’s big talk about a big money deal in the making in the name of the Cheyenne and Arapaho people.” The deal, known as the “Cheyenne-Arapaho Homecoming Project,” was “the brainchild” of a venture
the Abolition of Slavery, and the Thirteenth Amendment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 53–60, 107–114. 29. “Massacre of Cheyenne Indians,” 105–106; Frederick E. Hoxie, A Final Promise: The Campaign to Assimilate the Indians, 1880–1920 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984), 12–14; Elliot West, “Reconstructing Race,” Western Historical Quarterly 34 (Spring 2003): 7–26. 30. Quotes from “Massacre of Cheyenne Indians,” 104–108. See also Chivington to Beyers and Dailey,
“Everyone had reached …” from Christine Whitacre, historian, Intermountain Region, National Park Service, interview by author, May 27, 2003, Denver, CO, tape recording, in author’s possession. “A map of …,” “DRAFT,” and “an explosion …” from Rick Frost, Associate Regional Director for Communications and External Relations, Intermountain Region, National Park Service, interview by author, June 11, 2003, Denver, CO, tape recording, in author’s possession. “Betrayed” from Laird Cometsevah, chief,
Alexa Roberts interview, July 30, 2005. 58. “Mr. Pedro reportedly …” from Curt Neeley, July 31, 2005, Sand Creek Massacre Discussion Forum. “I am very …,” “this latest …,” and “make sure …” from Butch Kelley to Alexa Roberts, superintendent, Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, e-mail, August 1, 2005, in FSCMNHS, now at NPS-WACC. “How is this …” from Chuck and Sheri Bowen, August 3, 2005, Sand Creek Massacre Discussion Forum. “7 white …” from Curt Neeley, August 4, 2005, Sand Creek
neighbors suffered, damage that not even good fences could put right. Although he and his wife had lived in Kiowa County for more than three decades, the Dawsons began considering a move away from Colorado’s Eastern Plains.24 After leaving jail, Dawson returned home and locked his gates, barring strangers from his property. But keeping visitors away proved more difficult than he expected. Two weeks later, his phone rang. Dawson found himself on the line with Ward Churchill, a scholar of Native