Honoring Those Lost in the Sand Creek Massacre
Dear DU community,
On this day 159 years ago, at least 230 Cheyenne and Arapaho people—mainly women, children, and elders seeking the safety promised them—were attacked and murdered by the U.S. military in southeast Colorado. This event, known as the Sand Creek Massacre, remains to this day the deadliest in Colorado’s history. The massacre took place over the course of two days and the reverberations of pain, loss, and trauma continue to be deeply felt in our nation’s Native American community—but most acutely in the Cheyenne and Arapaho communities of Montana, Wyoming, and Oklahoma.
It is imperative that we who make up the University of Denver community take a moment of somber reflection and recognition because DU is linked to this atrocity due to the actions and inactions of John Chivington and John Evans. Chivington, who led the horrific attack, served on the board of the Colorado Seminary, which would later become the University of Denver. John Evans, DU’s founder, was territorial governor and superintendent of Indian Affairs of the Colorado Territory before statehood. As a community and as individuals, we must do all we can to ensure such violence and hatred are never again allowed to take root wherever we may be.
We would wish that in the years from that fateful day, hatred and violence would no longer have a place in this world. But, as we have seen too often, peace and equity require steadfast vigilance and protection.
So, for today and all the days to come, we recognize that violence and hate corrupt across time and that history is our responsibility to acknowledge and learn from.