This year’s event marks the 147th anniversary of the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre. On Nov. 29, 1864, Col. John M. Chivington, formerly the Presiding Elder of the Methodist Episcopal Church for the Rocky Mountain District and commander of the Colorado Military District, led 650 soldiers to a peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho village of approximately 600 men, women and children, who were camped along the banks of the Big Sandy—known to history as Sand Creek.
Tragically, over 200 persons—mostly women, children, and the elderly and at least 11 chiefs—were killed by the soldiers. The Sand Creek Massacre profoundly affected Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal leadership and traditional structure, and intercultural relations across the west.
Revered Cheyenne peace chief, White Antelope, was one of a number of leaders gathered around a lodge pole bearing the flag of the United States and a white flag of surrender flying beneath it. As the massacre began, Chief White Antelope sang “Only the Rocks are Forever,” as he walked unarmed toward the soldiers, pleading with them not to shoot. Shot down and killed, he was the first of the chiefs to fall.
Despite considerable risk to themselves, two veteran officers of the 1st Colorado Cavalry, Capt. Silas S. Soule of Company D, and Lt. Joseph A. Cramer of Company K, refused to participate in the massacre. Largely because of their testimony, the massacre was condemned by two congressional investigations. Shortly after his testimony during the army hearings, Soule was assassinated in the streets of Denver by Chivington supporters. Although identified, the murderers were never brought to justice.
A commemorative plaque honoring Soule has been installed in downtown Denver at 15th Ave and Arapahoe Stwhere Capt. Soule was assassinated.
It is anticipated participants will travel to the site from Montana, Wyoming and Oklahoma. Runners will travel in relays from Eads to Denver on Nov 24 and 25. A candlelight vigil will be held on Friday (Nov 25) evening at the Denver Art Museum. On Saturday, an Honoring Ceremony will be held for U.S. army officers Silas S. Soule and Joseph Cramer at Denver’s Riverside Cemetery.
Since the creation in 2007 of the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, nearly all human remains collected by army officials after the massacre have been identified and repatriated to a burial site within the park.
This year’s run has been sponsored in part by the following: History Colorado; Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs; Human Rights and Community Relations, City and County of Denver; Northern Arapaho Tribe; Northern Cheyenne Tribe; Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma; Denver Art Museum; Fairmont Heritage Foundation; Trinity United Methodist Church; Native American Indian Ministries; and the Denver Indian Center.
For additional information about the Annual Sand Creek Massacre Spiritual Healing Run, please call organizer Otto Braided Hair (406) 749-4325; or 406-592-3599. For information about activities at the Sand Creek Massacre NHS, please call the National Park Service at (719) 438-5916 or (719) 383-5051.
Sand Creek Healing Run Schedule
9am - Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site (located
approximately 8 miles north of the intersection of County Road 54—now renamed Chief White Antelope Way—and State Highway 96, near the unincorporated town of Chivington, Colo.) Pipe Ceremony and prayer Runners will be blessed and the annual Spiritual Healing Run to Denver will commence.
2:30pm - Eads - Run’ will conclude at the National Park Service Sand Creek Massacre Research Center, Eads, Colo. then share a
Meal at the Kiowa County Community Bldg., Eads
7am - Limon Colorado - Sunrise Ceremony and Healing Run continues to Denver.
7 pm-Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Ave. Pkwy, Denver. Candlelight Vigil at the DAM Wheel Sculpture.
All activities take place in Denver.
7:30am- Riverside Cemetery Office, 5201 Brighton Boulevard. Coffee and Welcome by Jay Alire, Denver.
8am - Riverside Cemetery/Capt. Silas S. Soule gravesite. Color Guard Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. Prayer, Honor Songs, Painting of Runners —Otto Braided Hair, Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Lame Deer, Montana. Dennis Gallagher, City of Denver Auditor, reads Silas S. Soule letter
9am - Riverside Cemetery to 15th Ave and Arapahoe St. Healing Run continues 4 miles. RUNNERS MUST REGISTER TO PARTICIPATE. Escort by Denver City Police.
9:50am - Silas Soule Historical Marker, 15th and Arapahoe, Downtown Denver. William Convery, History Colorado State Historian, brief announcement and 2 minutes of silence. Runners join walkers and continue on to the state capitol building.
11am - State Capitol steps (west side). Speakers include:Reading of Governor’s Proclamation by Senator Suzanne Williams; Reading of Mayor’s Proclamation by Derek Okubo, Executive Director, Community Relations& Human Rights; Reading of Joseph Cramer letter by Dr. David Halaas, Sand Creek Massacre consultant; James Doyle, Superintendent, Sand Creek Massacre Historic Site, National Park Service; William Convery, History Colorado; Gail Ridgely, Northern Arapaho Tribe, Wind River, Wyoming; Joe Big Medicine, Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, Concho, Oklahoma; Reginald Killsnight, Sr., Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Lame Deer, Mt.
12:30pm - Denver Indian Center, 4407 Morrison Rd., Denver. Reception – open to the public.