Professors to consider 'Lessons at Bloody Sand Creek'

By Staff

To anyone who grew up in Colorado and studied the West, the words "Sand Creek" are synonymous with one of the darkest passages in state history. On Nov. 29, 1864, a 700-man militia led by John Milton Chivington raided a peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho settlement in southeast Colorado, slaughtering and mutilating some 200 American Indians – most women, children and elders.

On April 17, University of Colorado Denver Professor of History Tom Noel, left, and Associate Professor of Political Science Glenn Morris, right, will take part in an expert panel at the Denver Public Library. The discussion will consider: What did Colorado learn from the Sand Creek tragedy and what lessons have we missed?

The free event is from 2-4:45 p.m. at the Denver Public Library, 10 W. 14th Ave. Parkway. Seating begins at 1:45 p.m.

"Sand Creek is a sad but crucial story that every American should know," said Noel, aka "Dr. Colorado." "The worst slaughter in U.S. history was done by our own army on our own soil to wipe out old men, women and children who camped where the U.S. Army told them to camp under a white flag and an American flag.

Other expert panelists include:

  • Rose Fredrick, curator and art consultant, Association of Professional Art Advisors (APAA)
  • Col. Ronald G. Machoian, Ph.D., director of international programs and assistant professor of military and strategic studies, Air Force Academy
  • George E. "Tink" Tinker, Ph.D., a Clifford Baldridge professor of American Indian cultures and religious traditions, Iliff School of Theology

The discussion aims to present aspects of the Sand Creek Massacre that enable the audience to see the complex nature of the incident and recognize how these same forces could be in play in the current day. Organizers note the discussion is appropriate for those of high school age and up. School groups and educators are welcome as is the public at large.

The conversation will begin with a brief overview of the historical events of the massacre at Sand Creek, including events leading up to the incident and the immediate aftermath. After the overview, the panelists will take the stage to discuss implications of Sand Creek in Colorado and the West today. The discussion will be followed by a question-and-answer period.

The event is sponsored by Windsor sculptor Craig Bergsgaard. His 2010 bronze, "Memorare Sand Creek 1864," was the impetus for the panel event. For more information, contact Amy Steeby at Craig Bergsgaard Studios,