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Sand Creek Massacre anniversary brings renewed calls for more education

Sand Creek Massacre.jpeg
KGNU
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November 29 marks the 158th anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre in southeastern Colorado.

November 29 marks the 158th anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre, the mass murder of at least 230 Cheyenne and Arapaho people by U.S. troops that took place on November 29 1864.

It was the largest mass murder in Colorado history, but the story about what happened has been largely kept out of text books and class rooms.

Earlier this month History Colorado opened an exhibit on the Sand Creek massacre, this time in consultation with affected tribes and the descendants of survivors.

Fred Mosqueda , an Arapaho elder from Oklahoma, has been working as a tribal representative in public education efforts and in talks with officials.

"In our home state of Oklahoma, you know, the governor there has pretty well stopped any education. There is some teachers who will teach the history of the Cheyenne Arapaho tribes as it happened, but you remember that in Oklahoma, we can't talk bad about the founding fathers," he said.

Mosqueda credits the state of Colorado as being more open to teaching the history of the massacre.

"Colorado has opened their arms. They want to know, they want to hear the real story. And so Colorado is a lot more open to hearing us tell the true story of the history," he said.

Mosqueda says schools in Colorado are more open to teaching the story of the massacre and are recognizing the history of the Cheyenne Arapaho tribes in other ways.

"In Littleton, they're gonna build a brand new elementary school and they're gonna name it Little Raven Elementary. As you know, Little Raven was very instrumental in taking care of not only the Arapahos, but the Cheyenne during the treaty years, he signed every treaty with the United States government for the Cheyenne Arapaho tribes," said Mosqueda.

This story from KGNU was shared with Aspen Public Radio via Rocky Mountain Community Radio, a network of public media stations in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico including Aspen Public Radio.

Shannon Young is the News Director at KGNU in Boulder/Denver. She has worked in Mexico as a foreign correspondent and regularly contributed to PRX’s “The World”, Public Radio International, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), The Guardian, Vice News, Truthout, and the Texas Observer.