The Sand Creek Massacre in the view of the State at that time
The war with the Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians in 1864-65 was highly influenced by the Minnesota Indian conflict and was headed mainly by Governor John Evans and Colonel John M. Chivington. Many peace and treaty efforts were made, but in April 1864, livestock, possibly strayed from their ranches, was found in the hands of Cheyenne Dog Soldiers. Chivington and Evans] interpreted this act as a provocation of a fight. On November 14, Chivington marched out of Denver with the Third and First Colorado Calvary regiments to engage the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes. The regiments surrounded the camp, located near Sand Creek and on the 29th, the battle began. The First Colorado rode ahead. Surprised Cheyenne came out of their homes and were killed. Black Kettle, the Cheyenne Indian chief, reportedly raised a white flag and an American flag, but in the confusion and crossfire, the flags were not seen. White Antelope and the Arapaho chief Left Hand were killed quickly. For 7 hours the battle raged on. The Indians were trapped and fought back with what weapons they had. By the end, at least 150 to 500 Indians were dead.
On December 22, citizens cheered as Chivington and his men celebrated their victory over the Indians. Men from the 3rd regiment scalped Indian heads and brought them back to Denver as prizes to be hung in museums. Chivington always over exaggerated, telling of how his regiments killed 500-600 Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians. This victory was short lived as the Civil War came to an end. In 1865, Senator James Doolittle, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, led one of three investigations. The investigations concluded that Chivington predetermined the needless act and massacre of the Indians. By then, the colonel and his men were no longer in service and they could not be tried. Governor Evans was found to be fully aware of the situation and he was dismissed as governor. In time, Cheyenne and Arapaho Indian victims were given slight amends through the Treaty of Little Arkansas.
Note: These are not my actual views on this tragic event. Personally, I thought this slaughter was horrible and the reparations afterwards were poorly conducted. Of course, I did do this project in order to empathize for the Cheyenne.