NewsLocal News


Vigil held Wednesday to honor Sand Creek Massacre victims 150 years ago to the day

History Colorado Sand Creek Massacre exhibit.jpg
Posted at 10:12 AM, Nov 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-01 12:10:18-05

DENVER — On Nov. 29, 1864, around 675 volunteer soldiers attacked a village of 750 Cheyenne and Arapahoe people along Sand Creek in southeastern Colorado territory.

Although the Cheyenne and Arapaho believed they were under the protection of the U.S. Army on their assigned ratified treaty lands, the troops killed roughly 230 people — most of them women, children and the elderly.

“We had a white flag that signaled that we were a peaceful tribe. But in all that, that was never honored,” Conrad Fisher, a Northern Cheyenne descendant from the original inhabitants of Colorado said.

As we finish Native American Indian Heritage Month this November, the Denver Public Library hosted a candlelight vigil on the west steps of the state capitol Wednesday night in honor of the Sand Creek Massacre victims. The location was chosen because that's where the military leaders went after the massacre.

"This is really a way of acknowledging the harm that was done, saying it happened, it's not going to happen again. But we will uphold an honor the folks you know, the victims that were lost," Naghem Swade, the EDI training and development manager at the Denver Public Library said.

Donna Chrisjohn Native American

Local News

Native Americans reflect on the truths of the past to make a better future

Angelika Albaladejo
8:00 PM, Nov 24, 2023

"We really want to create space, to honor the victims, celebrate their legacy, celebrate the land that you know, we all live on. Like I said, it carries that history, it carries that narrative... So just because some folks don't know about it, some folks forgot about it, doesn't mean that the event didn't happen," Swade said.

More than 5,500 Native Americans from nearly 400 different tribal nations live in the Denver metro area. Across Colorado, almost 75,000 people identify as American Indian or Alaska Native.

Candlelight vigil tonight to mark Sand Creek Massacre

If you want to learn more, History Colorado has an ongoing exhibit about the Sand Creek Massacre.

D7 follow up bar 2460x400FINAL.png
The Follow Up
What do you want Denver7 to follow up on? Is there a story, topic or issue you want us to revisit? Let us know with the contact form below.