Sand Creek Massacre, Chivington Massacre
Kiowa County, CO | Nov 29 - 30, 1864
By late 1864, mistrust between the Indians and white settlers on the plains of the western U. S. Territories had come to a head. Some tribal leaders proclaimed friendship with the white territorial government and were promised the protection of nearby forts. On November 29th, Colonel John Chivington, leading over 600 Colorado Territory Militia soldiers from nearby Fort Lyon, attacked the Sand Creek camp of over 500 Cheyenne and Arapaho without provocation. Ignoring the American and white flags flying from the camp, the sign of their supposed protected status, the Colorado troopers rode into the camp and opened fire. Many of the Indians took shelter in the high banks along the creek. As most of them fled, as many as 163 were killed or wounded, some by artillery fire. Many of the Indian bodies were mutilated and their jewelry stolen. Some of the Indians put up a fight: Chivington lost 24 killed and 52 wounded. More than half of the Indian casualties were women and children. A handful of survivors fled north, hoping to reach a larger band of Cheyenne nearby. Most of the chiefs killed were those who had advocated peace with white settlers and the U.S. government. Many of the Cheyenne and others retaliated against white settlers in Colorado and Wyoming the next year. The controversial massacre profoundly influenced the U.S. -Indian relationship on the frontier for the rest of the century.