Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

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Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site
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The site, July 1985
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Location Kiowa County, Colorado, United States
Nearest city Eads, CO
Coordinates 38°32′27″N102°31′43″W / 38.54083°N 102.52861°W / 38.54083; -102.52861 Coordinates: 38°32′27″N102°31′43″W / 38.54083°N 102.52861°W / 38.54083; -102.52861
Area12,583 acres (5,092 ha) [1]
EstablishedApril 27, 2007 (2007-April-27)
Visitors1,229,590(in 2011) [2]
Governing body National Park Service
Website Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site is a National Historic Site in Kiowa County, Colorado, near Eads and Chivington in Kiowa County commemorating the Sand Creek Massacre that occurred here on November 29, 1864. The site is about 170 miles (270 km) southeast of Denver and about 125 miles (200 km) east of Pueblo. A few basic park facilities have been opened at this site.

Kiowa County, Colorado U.S. county in Colorado

Kiowa County is one of the 64 counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 1,398, making it the fifth-least populous county in Colorado. The county seat is Eads. The county was named for the Kiowa Nation of Native Americans.

Eads, Colorado Statutory Town in Colorado, United States

Eads is the Statutory Town that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Kiowa County, Colorado, United States. The town population was 609 according to the 2010 census.

Chivington, Colorado unincorporated community in Colorado, United States

Chivington is an unincorporated community in Kiowa County, Colorado, United States. The U.S. Post Office at Eads now serves Chivington postal addresses.

Entrance sign for Sand Creek Massacre NHS Sand Creek MNHS Entrance Sign P5310694.JPG
Entrance sign for Sand Creek Massacre NHS

In 1999, archaeological teams from the National Park Service, Dept. of the Interior BLM, Colorado Historical Society and accompanied by Native American observers, made a major archaeological discovery of remains of the massacre site. Large numbers of period bullets, camp equipment, and other items convinced the NPS that they had found the correct site. Subsequent transfers of ownership from the Dawson family, former owners of the property have left the title of the site to the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes with management to be undertaken by NPS. The National Park Service offers scheduled Ranger-led programs without charge during hours of operation, from 9 am – 4 pm, April 1 – December 1, or by advance appointment in the winter season.

Cheyenne Group of indigenous people of the Great Plains

The Cheyenne are one of the indigenous people of the Great Plains and their language is of the Algonquian language family. The Cheyenne comprise two Native American tribes, the Só'taeo'o or Só'taétaneo'o and the Tsétsêhéstâhese. These tribes merged in the early 19th century. Today, the Cheyenne people are split into two federally recognized Nations: the Southern Cheyenne, who are enrolled in the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes in Oklahoma, and the Northern Cheyenne, who are enrolled in the Northern Cheyenne Tribe of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Montana.

Arapaho Native American tribe

The Arapaho are a tribe of Native Americans historically living on the plains of Colorado and Wyoming. They were close allies of the Cheyenne tribe and loosely aligned with the Lakota and Dakota.

Sand Creek massacre site SandCreekCO.jpg
Sand Creek massacre site

The Historical Site was authorized by Public Law 106-465 on November 7, 2000, in order to "recognize the national significance of the massacre in American history, and its ongoing significance to the Cheyenne and Arapaho people and the descendants of the massacre victims." The law authorized establishment of the site once the National Park Service acquired sufficient land from willing sellers to preserve, commemorate, and interpret the massacre. The site near the junction of County Road 54 and County Road "W" was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 28, 2001. On August 2, 2005, President George W. Bush gave final approval for the site. On April 23, 2007 it was announced that site would become America's 391st official park unit [3] with an effective date of April 27, 2007. [4] The dedication ceremony was held on April 28, 2007. [5]

National Park Service United States federal agency

The National Park Service (NPS) is an agency of the United States federal government that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. It was created on August 25, 1916, by Congress through the National Park Service Organic Act and is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior. The NPS is charged with a dual role of preserving the ecological and historical integrity of the places entrusted to its management while also making them available and accessible for public use and enjoyment.

National Register of Historic Places Federal list of historic sites in the United States

The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred in preserving the property.

George W. Bush 43rd president of the United States

George Walker Bush is an American politician and businessman who served as the 43rd president of the United States from 2001 to 2009. He had previously served as the 46th governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000.

Currently the Site encompasses 12,583 acres (5,092 ha) of which 2,385 acres (965 ha) are federally owned. [1] By 2004 the federal government acquired 920 acres (3.7 km2) from private land owners. On September 9, 2006 the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma conveyed to the United States title to 1,465 acres (6 km2) to be held in trust for the National Historic Site. [4] The site includes 640 acres acquired and preserved by the American Battlefield Trust and its partners. [6]

The American Battlefield Trust is a charitable organization whose primary focus is in the preservation of battlefields of the American Civil War, the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 through acquisition of battlefield land. The American Battlefield Trust was formerly known as the Civil War Trust. On May 8, 2018, the organization announced the creation of the American Battlefield Trust as the umbrella organization for two divisions, the Civil War Trust and the Revolutionary War Trust, which was formerly known as "Campaign 1776." The name American Battlefield Trust reflects the organization's expanded mission, announced in 2014, of saving land at battlefields of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 as well as the American Civil War The American Battlefield Trust also promotes educational programs and heritage tourism initiatives to inform the public about these three conflicts and their significance in American history. On May 31, 2018, the Trust announced that with the acquisition of 13 acres at the Cedar Creek battlefield in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, it had reached the milestone of 50,000 acres of battlefield land acquired and preserved. Since 1988, the Trust and its federal, state and local partners have preserved land in 24 states at more than 130 battlefields of the Civil War, the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. More than 10,000 of the acres have been acquired and preserved since 2014.

The site contains a small visitor's center, interpretive plaques and signage, monuments located on a hilltop overlooking the massacre site, and two walking trails. [7] The massacre site itself is off-limits to visitors.

Related Research Articles

Sand Creek massacre massacre of a village of Cheyenne and Arapaho people in the American Indian Wars

The Sand Creek massacre was a massacre of Cheyenne and Arapaho people by the U.S. Army in the American Indian Wars that occurred on November 29, 1864, when a 675-man force of the Third Colorado Cavalry under the command of U.S. Army Colonel John Chivington attacked and destroyed a village of Cheyenne and Arapaho people in southeastern Colorado Territory, killing and mutilating an estimated 70–500 Native Americans, about two-thirds of whom were women and children. The location has been designated the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site and is administered by the National Park Service. This was part of a series of events known as the Colorado War and was preceded by the Hungate massacre.

Black Kettle Leader of the Southern Cheyenne

Black Kettle was a prominent leader of the Southern Cheyenne during the American Indian Wars. Born to the Northern Só'taeo'o / Só'taétaneo'o band of the Northern Cheyenne in the Black Hills of present-day South Dakota, he later married into the Wotápio / Wutapai band of the Southern Cheyenne.

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Battle of Champion Hill United States historic place

The Battle of Champion Hill, fought May 16, 1863, was the pivotal battle in the Vicksburg Campaign of the American Civil War (1861-1865). Union Army commander Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Tennessee pursued the retreating Confederate States Army, under Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton and defeated his army twenty miles to the east of Vicksburg, Mississippi, leading inevitably to the Siege of Vicksburg and surrender. The battle is also known as Baker's Creek.

Colorado War war in the Colorado Territory of native Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes against white settlers and militia

The Colorado War was an Indian War fought in 1864 and 1865 between the Southern Cheyenne, Arapaho, and allied Brulé and Oglala Sioux peoples versus the U.S. army, Colorado militia, and white settlers in Colorado Territory and adjacent regions. The Kiowa and the Comanche played a minor role in actions that occurred in the southern part of the Territory along the Arkansas River. The Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Sioux played the major role in actions that occurred north of the Arkansas River and along the South Platte River, the Great Platte River Road, and the eastern portion of the Overland Trail. The United States government and Colorado Territory authorities participated through the 1st Colorado Cavalry Regiment, often called the Colorado volunteers. The war was centered on the Colorado Eastern Plains, extending eastward into Kansas and Nebraska.

The Third Colorado Cavalry was formed in the mid-1860s when increased traffic on the United States emigrant trails and settler encroachment resulted in numerous attacks against them by the Cheyenne and Arapaho. The Hungate massacre and the display in Denver of mutilated victims raised political pressure for the government to protect its people. Governor John Evans sought and gained authorization from the War Department in Washington to found the Third. More a militia than a military unit, the "Bloodless Third" was composed of "100-daysers," that is, volunteers who signed on for 100 days to fight against the Indians.

Antietam National Battlefield

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Wilsons Creek National Battlefield

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Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park

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Bentonville Battlefield United States historic place

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Princeton Battlefield United States historic place

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Saylers Creek Battlefield United States historic place

Sayler's Creek Battlefield near Farmville, Virginia was the site of the Battle of Sayler's Creek of the American Civil War. Robert E. Lee's army was retreating from the Richmond to Petersburg line. Here, on April 6, 1865, Union General Philip Sheridan cut off and beat back about a quarter of Lee's army. Eight Confederate generals surrendered, and 7,700 men were lost. Confederate Major General George Washington Custis Lee, eldest son of Robert E. Lee, was forcibly captured on the battlefield by Private David Dunnels White of the 37th Massachusetts Regiment. This was the last major engagement of the war in Virginia; Lee's surrender at Appomattox occurred three days later. A portion of the landmarked battlefield area is included in Sailor's Creek Battlefield Historical State Park. The Civil War Trust and its partners have acquired and preserved 885 acres (3.58 km2) of the battlefield in five transactions since 1996.

Horse Island Light lighthouse in New York, United States

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The Land Run of 1892 was the opening of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Reservation to settlement in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. One of seven in Oklahoma, it occurred on April 19, 1892, and opened up land that would become Blaine, Custer, Dewey, Washita, and Roger Mills counties. The land run also opened up what would become part of Ellis County, but was designated County "E" and then Day County prior to statehood.

Black Kettle National Grassland

The Black Kettle National Grassland is located in Roger Mills County, Oklahoma and Hemphill County, Texas. It contains 31,286 acres (12,661 ha) of which 30,710 acres (12,430 ha) are in Oklahoma.

Little Raven (Arapaho leader) Southern Arapaho chief

Little Raven, also known as Hosa, was from about 1855 until his death in 1889 a principal chief of the Southern Arapaho Indians. He negotiated peace between the Southern Arapaho and Cheyenne and the Comanche, Kiowa, and Plains Apache. He also secured rights to the Cheyenne-Arapaho Reservation in Indian Territory.


  1. 1 2 "Listing of acreage as of December 31, 2011". Land Resource Division, National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-03-19.
  2. "NPS Annual Recreation Visits Report". National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-03-19.
  3. U.S. Dept. of Interior. "Secretary Kempthorne Creates Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site" . Retrieved May 2, 2007.
  4. 1 2 Dirk Kempthorne (Federal Register Volume 72, Number 81, pp. 21048-21049). "Notice of Establishment of the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site". Archived from the original on May 9, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2007.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. National Park Service. "Sand Creek Massacre NHS Dedication, Schedule of Events" (PDF). Retrieved May 2, 2007.
  6. Land Saved by the American Battlefield Trust, accessed May 18, 2018.
  7. Sand Creek Massacre Site Pamphlet. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. 2017.

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