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In Remembrance of the Sand Creek Massacre

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Jeremy Haefner

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Dear DU community,

On this day in 1864, over 230 Cheyenne and Arapaho were attacked and murdered by U.S. military forces. This dark day in history would come to be known as the Sand Creek Massacre. In the context of years of loss, the peaceful Native Americans were seeking safety and supplies, as was promised by a Colorado proclamation made that summer. Instead, the group of mostly women, children and elderly people were brutally attacked over the course of eight hours.

This day is a stain on the history of our state. For the Cheyenne and Arapaho people, it is a still-open wound. It is imperative we do not forget those lost or discount the reverberating effects of the massacre on the present. And it is important we recognize the connection between the Sand Creek Massacre and two individuals tied to DU’s founding: John Chivington, who led the attack, and John Evans, who was the governor and the superintendent of Indian Affairs in the Colorado territory.

Violence and hatred take root in ignorance and fear. And, as we have seen in recent weeks—and see far, far too often—acts of hatred are not relegated to the past. We must look unflinchingly at history and learn from it. And through our commitment to serving the public good, the University of Denver community works toward a better future for all.

Today, let us all reflect on the Cheyenne and Arapaho people’s loss, grief, and pain. And let us all recognize how every act of violence spreads through communities, impacting countless lives across time.



Jeremy Haefner