On November 29, 1864, roughly 700 federal soldiers attacked a village of about 500 Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho people camped along Sand Creek in southeastern Colorado Territory. This surprise attack was unprovoked and over the course of eight hours, U.S. troops killed approximately 230 Cheyenne and Arapaho. The dead were composed of mostly women, children and the elderly.
Black Kettle, opens a new window and Grey Beard, opens a new window were prominent leaders of the Cheyenne who advocated for peace prior to the massacre at Sand Creek. You can also read a firsthand attack of the account from Plains Indian Little Bear, opens a new window.
The U.S. troops were commanded by Colonel John M. Chivington, opens a new window and you can read firsthand accounts from reluctant soldiers Silas Soule, opens a new window and Lieutenant Joseph Cramer, opens a new window in the form of letters found in Denver in 2000.
You can read a timeline of events leading up to and following the Sand Creek Massacre, opens a new window on the National Park Service's website.
For more information on the history of the Sand Creek Massacre, visit the following websites:
- Sand Creek Massacre Foundation, opens a new window
- Smithsonian Magazine: The Horrific Sand Creek Massacre Will Be Forgotten No More , opens a new window
- This Day in History: Sand Creek massacre, opens a new window
The Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, opens a new window was established by a Congressional decree in 2000 and opened to the public in 2007. It is located about 170 miles southeast of Denver and is open for visits year round.
Discover Native Colorado by learning about important places you can visit throughout the state, including the Sand Creek Massacre site.
Learn about the varied and fascinating peoples who make up Indigenous Colorado.
Check out a nonfiction book to discover the Indigenous Tribes in Our Area.